Japanese electronics maker Panasonic Corp and its rival Sanyo Electric Corp Ltd have won U.S. antitrust approval to merge, the Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday.
Panasonic plans to start the tender offer for Sanyo shares soon after it wins regulatory approval in 11 countries and regions including China, Europe and the United States.
Panasonic and Sanyo have agreed to sell assets related to Sanyo's portable nickel metal hydride battery, the FTC said.
Under a proposed FTC order, FDK Corporation, a subsidiary of Fujitsu Ltd, will buy the divested Sanyo battery assets, the FTC said in a release. The NiMH batteries are one of three types of rechargeable batteries.
The sale of the assets resolves competitive concerns that were raised by the transaction, which combines the world's two largest manufacturers and sellers of these batteries, the FTC said. No competitive concerns were raised by other overlaps between the companies.
Europe approved the deal in late September. The European Commission, the competition watchdog of the 27-nation EU, said in a statement that Panasonic would need to sell battery production facilities in markets where the Commission identified antitrust concerns in Europe.
Panasonic, the world's No. 1 plasma TV maker, said in December 2008, it would spend up to $4.34 billion (400 billion yen) to buy Sanyo to strengthen its position in the rechargeable battery and solar power equipment markets.
Panasonic, which vies with Sony Corp for the title of the world's largest consumer electronics maker, won approval from Japan's antitrust regulators for the deal in September.
Sanyo, the world's largest maker of rechargeable batteries, is developing lithium-ion batteries for cars with Volkswagen AG. Panasonic operates an auto battery joint venture with Toyota Motor Corp.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz, editing by Maureen Bavdek)