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Foxconn looking to purchase Sharp LCD business, say reports


Foxconn Electronics is looking to buy Sharp's LCD business and is also looking to seek funding from Apple to make the move, according to media report in Japan.

According to a report from Japan-based Nikkei, Sharp may consider offloading its LCD business as the panel maker has been struggling to turn operations profitable. Foxconn, which is a major partner with Apple, has since spurred interest in purchasing the facilities and is also reportedly calling on Apple to contribute funding.

Other media reports in Japan have stated that Sharp is also in talks with public-private Innovation Network of Japan, which is the main shareholder in rival Japan Display. Foxconn and Apple's move would help prevent a merger between the two Japan-based display firms, as a merger could reduce Apple's display supply access while possibly increase costs.

The Nikkei report follows developments in April 2015 in which Japanese-language paper Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun reported that Sharp had recently accepted loans of JPY200 billion (US$1.68 billion) from cooperating banks and business-renewal organizations to improve its LCD business. Foxconn also reportedly had given up plans to invest in Sharp, the report said, adding that the two firms reached a consensus to stop investment negotiations.

Market observers said Sharp has continued to struggle with falling LCD panel prices to smartphone vendors, particularly in China. The Nikkei report noted not only would Foxconn consider purchasing a large stake in Sharp's LCD business, it would also purchase Sharp's 38% stake in a display factory that the two firms jointly operate in Sakai, Japan.

Vicky Chou, Taipei; Alex Wolfgram, DIGITIMES [Tuesday 22 September 2015]

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