TOKYO— Tesla Inc.’s leading battery supplier is no longer a Tesla shareholder.
Panasonic Corp. said Friday it has sold its entire stake in Tesla for about $3.6 billion. The move highlights the more arm’s-length relationship that has developed between the Japanese battery maker and the American electric-vehicle maker, which has started working with other battery manufacturers in recent years.
Panasonic said the move wouldn’t affect its supply of batteries to Tesla and the two companies maintain a good relationship. It said it completed the share sale during its last fiscal year, which ended in March, and notified Tesla of the transactions. Tesla didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Panasonic made a $1.6 billion bet on building a joint battery factory with Tesla in Nevada called the Gigafactory. It caused years of losses at Panasonic before the company said this year it was finally turning a quarterly profit.
Tesla has ramped up efforts to diversify its supply of batteries by working with other manufacturers in China and South Korea, as well as exploring making its own batteries. Meanwhile, the Panasonic chief executive who led the Gigafactory investment, Kazuhiro Tsuga, stepped down this year.