Struggling Apple display-maker secures massive bailout

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Struggling Apple display-maker secures massive bailout
Japan Display makes screens for Apple's LCD iPhones.
Photo: Apple

Beleaguered Apple display-maker Japan Display revealed Friday that it has agreed a $918.87 million bailout deal that will throw it a major lifeline as it attempts to claw its way back to profitability.

The money comes for Japanese investment fund, Ichigo Asset Management. Ichigo’s CEO will become Japan Display’s new chairman, while the deal will make Ichigo the company’s largest shareholder.

“I’ve spoken to Japan Display’s clients and heard their confidence in its technologies,” Scott Callon, Ichigo’s CEO said at a press conference.

Ichigo will initially own a 44.26% stake in the company. However, it may buy additional shares in the future, bringing its stake up to 70.43%.

Display-maker gets a bailout

While Ichigo is the biggest player in this deal, Apple reportedly played a big role in helping cement it. At one time, Japan Display was Apple’s biggest display manufacturers. But when Apple moved away from LCD screens to OLED, Japan Display fell behind.

The company has had 11 quarterly losses in a row. A previous bailout deal collapsed after a Chinese investment firm and several others pulled out.

Japan Display still owes Apple almost $900 million for a smartphone display plant built four years ago. To help it through its current problems, Apple agreed to slow the pace of expected repayments. Apple is additionally paying money it owes Japan Display in shorter increments to boost cash flow.

A report from late last year stated that Apple’s willingness to stick with Japan Display helped get other investors on board. Apple has awarded Japan Display its first OLED orders for the next-gen Apple Watch.

Via: CNBC