Panasonic's acquisition of Blue Yonder comes to fruition – Logistics Management

Following a host of mixed reports earlier this year, regarding the acquisition of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Blue Yonder (formerly JDA), a provider of AI-driven and end-to-end supply chain management service by global electronics giant Panasonic, Panasonic announced late last week that the transaction is now officially completed.
The company said it purchased the remaining 80% of shares of Blue Yonder, which it stated it would do in April, along with the 20% of Blue Yonder shares it acquired in July 2020, when it acquired a minority ownership stake and one seat on the Board of Directors of Blue Yonder, with New Mountain Capital and funds managed by Blackstone remaining majority shareholders of Blue Yonder fully committed to supporting the company’s strategic vision.
Panasonic added that this investment values Blue Yonder at $8.5 billion and that the deal has completed antitrust procedures and also received approval of regulatory authorities in the U.S. and also other countries.
“The acquisition accelerates Panasonic’s and Blue Yonder’s shared vision for an Autonomous Supply Chain,” said Panasonic officials in a statement. “By unifying Panasonic’s sensing technologies and edge devices with Blue Yonder’s AI/ML-powered planning, execution and commerce solutions, companies can create smarter and more connected e-commerce strategies, retail stores, warehouses, transportation, and workplaces. This unique end-to-end offering provides customers with unlimited visibility, control, and orchestration, allowing them to pivot operations in real-time, provide superior customer experiences, and deliver more profitable business outcomes.”
Panasonic also said that the Blue Yonder brand will be retained, with the business operating within the Panasonic Connected Solutions Company. And Girish Risi, Blue Yonder CEO and the Blue Yonder leadership team will stay on with the company.
A Blue Yonder spokesman previously told LM, at the time, that this expanded partnership would accelerate Blue Yonder’s AI/ML (machine learning) platform to drive faster, more context-aware business decisions for global supply chains and accelerate the promise of the Autonomous Supply Chain.  And he added that Blue Yonder and Panasonic would combine resources and work closely with partner companies in Japan to fuel growth by selling Blue Yonder’s Luminate solutions and bringing forth new, jointly developed solutions.
Panasonic outlined various benefits that the deal will provide, including:
For calendar year 2020, total Blue Yonder revenue topped $1 billion, with 67% of it recurring revenue, and as of December 31, 2020, SaaS annual recurring revenue was $343 million and SaaS net revenue retention rate was 120%.
Panasonic said bringing Blue Yonder into the fold boosts its digital transformation and customer-centric focus, adding that effective April 1, 2022, “the Panasonic Group will shift to a holding company system concentrating management resources on strategic businesses in key areas such as providing supply chain innovation and automation.”
In early March, when the possibility of Panasonic acquiring Blue Yonder was first broached, Ben Gordon, Managing Partner of Cambridge Capital, an investor in niche supply chain leaders, and also Managing Partner of BGSA Holdings, a leading mergers and acquisitions advisory firm focused on the transportation, logistics, and supply chain technology sectors, said that the Panasonic acquisition of Blue Yonder reflected the growing importance of supply chain software.
“This is the largest acquisition Panasonic has made in a decade,” he said. “The purchase gives them the ability to combine hardware and software. This is a strategic initiative that could provide Panasonic with a leg up in comparison with other hardware providers. Will Blue Yonder pull back and stop selling software to other hardware and electronics providers? It could be the 2021 is the year of the supply chain. In other words, this could be a signal of the growing global recognition of the importance of supply chain.”
When reports surfaced that Blue Yonder was vetting possibly going public in April, it said that the number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering had to be determined, adding that the initial public offering was expected to take place after the SEC completes its review process, subject to market and other conditions.
A Wall Street Journal report observed that, according to research firm Gartner, Blue Yonder is the third largest supply chain management software provided based on 2019 revenue, trailing SAP and Oracle.
What’s more, the report pointed to other nascent logistics technology players getting involved on the IPO front, with Chicago-based project44, a technology services provider offering standardized, secure Web service API (application programming interfaces) integrations enabling 3PLs and shippers to connect with carriers in real time, said to be considering an IPO sometime in the next 18-to-24 months, and E2open, a provider of cloud-based service for collaborative planning and execution across global trading networks, going public in early 2021 with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
In February 2020, Blue Yonder changed its name from JDA. The company said that the name change was part of a re-branding initiative in an effort to better align its name with its cloud transformation and product roadmap and also to embrace endless innovation in the future, as well as continuous improvement and a focus on outstanding customer experience, too. 
The company explained that changing its name and brand from JDA to Blue Yonder “further supports the massive impact of AI and ML technology across the supply chain, logistics, and retail markets,” adding that “Blue Yonder’s leading AI/ML technology powers the Company’s Luminate end-to-end digital fulfillment platform.”
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Thu, September 23, 2021 – 2:00 pm EDT