Panasonic Close to Buying Sanyo?

No one is yet confirming reports this week from the Kyodo News Agency in Tokyo and others of the real possibility that Panasonic—one of the world's largest makers of HD sets, Blu-ray Disc players, and numerous other CE products—might be in the process of buying Sanyo. But the rumor certainly has affected both firms' stocks in an upwardly mobile way. Both Panasonic's and Sanyo's stocks made gains on Nov. 4 following several reports of ongoing meetings between both companies.

The speculation of a sale, among other things, is fueling speculation that Japan's fiercely competitive electronics sector (only part of which includes HD products) could face further consolidation. What that portends for broadcasters who purchase professional equipment for HD and other digital needs, as well as for HD and Blu-ray consumers, will not be known until if and when any purchase happens.

Lack of competition, generally, does not lend itself to lowering price points, but the fact that so much more competition among CE manufacturers still remains probably negates any real effect that Panasonic's growth (and the subsequent demise of Sanyo) will have on HD and other CE prices one way or another. Also, Sanyo was never a big HD maker to begin with, and has concentrated in recent years on solar panel production and other "green" products, such as lithium-ion car batteries.

Folding Sanyo into Panasonic's realm would create Japan's biggest electronics maker, surpassing Hitachi, according to the Associated Press.