The Foxconn-owned Sharp Corp. has agreed a deal to acquire an 80 percent share in Toshiba’s PC business. Foxconn currently assembles Macs for Apple, while Sharp is an iPhone display maker.
The move won’t compete directly with Apple, although it puts Foxconn and Sharp in charge of a company which, at its 2011 peak, sold 17.7 million PCs in a year. That number fell to just 1.4 million units last year. Toshiba led the world in producing some of the earliest laptops. Its first laptop launched in 1985.
The acquisition also means that Sharp will be re-entering the personal computer industry. During the 1970S, Sharp was an established player in the personal computer industry, but shut down its PC operations in 2010. Toshiba will be able to take advantage of Foxconn’s factories to produce PCs more cheaply, potentially making it competitive again.
The deal to acquire Toshiba’s PC business is valued at $36 million. Sharp will also issue $1.8 billion in new shares in order to buy back stock from the bank.
Although it remains best known to the world as an Apple manufacturer, Foxconn has been working to grow its own business interests. This comes at a time when Apple has focused on expanding its supply chain so as not to rely too heavily on any one manufacturer.
Yesterday, we reported on a new Apple edict to suppliers regarding the purchase of materials which could further reduce its manufacturer profits.
Last year, Apple was part of a consortium called Bain Capital which paid $18 billion bid for Toshiba’s memory chip unit.