Foxconn confirms $3.5 billion takeover of iPhone display maker

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iPhone rain by Dariusz-Sankowski
Among other things, Sharp builds iPhone displays.
Photo: Dariusz Sanksowski/Pixabay. Licensed via CC0 1.0.

Foxconn is cementing its importance to Apple by finalizing a deal to acquire a majority interest in struggling iPhone display maker Sharp for a reported 389 billion yen — or $3.5 billion.

The multi-billion dollar bailout of Sharp was originally reported as being completed back in February, only to be placed on hold after previously undisclosed liabilities threatened the deal.

In the end, it appears that Foxconn was able to negotiate a lower price tag to acquire Sharp, which lost around $960 million in the final 9 months of 2015. Under the terms of the deal, Foxconn will initially own a 66 percent stake in Sharp — with the possibility that this could increase to 72 percent after July 2017.

Alongside iPhone displays, Sharp manufactures a range of consumer products in Japan, including calculators, TV sets, and refrigerators. While the brand is extremely popular in Japan, it has not been able to extend this popularity elsewhere in the world.

Under Foxconn control, Sharp will expand its display production capacity and invest heavily in OLED technology, which Apple is expected to use in future iPhones. Part of the reason for Foxconn’s interest in Sharp is the number of patents it owns relating to various display technologies.

“We have much that we want to achieve and I am confident that we will unlock Sharp’s true potential and together reach great heights,” Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou said in a statement today.

The deal is set to be signed on Saturday, followed by a news conference with both Sharp CEO Kozo Takahashi and Terry Gou in Osaka.

Foxconn’s investment comes at a time when Apple is expanding its supply chain so as not to rely too heavily on any one manufacturer. To counter this, Foxconn has been aggressively trying to buy some of the other companies which regularly do business with Apple. Back in October, Foxconn made a bid for a share in chip-making company Siliconware Precision Industries, although this was shot down by SPIL’s board of directors.

Source: WSJ

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