By the end of the first quarter of 2013, Panasonic may sell its Sanyo digital camera business to a Japanese private equity fund. Reuters spoke to a source who said Advantage Partners will buy the business unit from Panasonic by the end of March. The source was not named in the article, and Panasonic did not confirm whether this sale is in the works, so it’s a rumor for now.
If the deal does go through, Advantage Partners will pay several hundreds of millions of yen for the Sanyo digital camera business, which makes products like the Xacti.
Advantage Partners has operated in the private equity space for 14 years, and has invested in 32 separate companies. The Advantage Partners portfolio includes companies in distribution and retail; consumer products and manufacturing; telecom; IT and software; and finance and services. Consumer products and manufacturing companies in the portfolio include Fuji Machinery and Hisense Broadband Multimedia Technologies. These companies may still be in the portfolio, however the Advantage Partners website does not clearly state which portfolio companies remain current.
Panasonic acquired Sanyo in 2010. The business unit also makes digital cameras for companies including Olympus. Sanyo also makes lithium ion batteries and solar panels, though it is unclear whether that piece of the business is also up for sale. Since acquiring Sanyo, Panasonic has been looking to eliminate divisions that overlap with its existing business units. The major electronics manufacturer is facing challenges in the photography business due to the decline in compact digital camera sales, as more consumers are using their smartphones for photography. Like other Japanese companies, it’s facing a strong yen that is affecting profits.