Tesla shareholder Panasonic sells stake for $ 3.6 billion

TOKYO – Tesla Inc.’s main battery supplier is no longer a Tesla shareholder.

Panasonic Corp. announced on Friday that it had sold its entire stake in Tesla for around $ 3.6 billion. The move highlights the more independent relationship that has developed between the Japanese battery maker and the US electric vehicle maker, which has started working with other battery makers in recent years.

Panasonic said the move would not affect its supply of batteries to Tesla and that the two companies have a good relationship. He said he finalized the sale of the shares in his most recent fiscal year, which ended in March, and informed Tesla of the transactions. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

Panasonic has made a $ 1.6 billion bet on building a joint battery plant with Tesla in Nevada called Gigafactory. This caused years of losses at Panasonic before the company declared this year that it was finally making a quarterly profit.

Tesla has stepped up efforts to diversify its battery supply by working with other manufacturers in China and South Korea, as well as exploring how to manufacture its own batteries. Meanwhile, the Managing Director of Panasonic who led the investment in Gigafactory, Kazuhiro Tsuga, resigned this year.