Shrinking Sharp ready to sell LCD business

Just months after Hisense purchased the US business off Sharp Corporation, Foxconn Electronics appears poised to buy Sharp’s LCD business and is also looking to seek funding from Apple to make the move. According to a report from Japan-based Nikkei, Sharp may seriously be considering offloading its unprofitable LCD business.

A man sitting on a sofa looks at a Sharp Corp's Aquos TV at an electronics retailer in Tokyo, Japan, June 23, 2015.  REUTERS/Yuya Shino

Meanwhile, other media reports claim that Sharp is talking 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.

Struggling with declining prices

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. 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.

Meanwhile, Sharp US will be moving its sales and marketing functions from its New Jersey offices to Hisense’s offices in Suwanee, as the two technology giants prepare for the January takeover of the Sharp US TV business.

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