According to a report from Nikkei Asian Review, Apple manufacturing partner Foxconn has proposed to purchase Sharp’s LCD business. The deal would see Foxconn hold a majority stake in the company, while Apple would also come on board as an investor. The exact breakdown of the partnership between Foxconn and Apple in purchasing Sharp’s LCD business is unclear at this point, but Apple already controls a major portion of the business…
Sharp’s Kameyama Plant No. 1 in Japan is solely dedicated to producing displays for the iPhone, with Apple supplying $987 million to transform the plant into a smartphone LCD factory as opposed to HDTV panels. Apple’s investment gives it operational control of the facility.
Foxconn and Apple purchasing Sharp’s LCD business would mean that Apple wouldn’t have to worry about the fate of the company, which has been up in the air at several instances over the past few years. Sharp, if it did indeed sell, would also be able to retain its Japanese staff. The move would also limit the risk for Sharp, while also allowing it stay in business:
Sharp’s LCD business logged consolidated sales of 907.1 billion yen ($7.5 billion) and operating profit of 30.1 billion yen in fiscal 2014. But it moved into the red in the April-June quarter, with an operating loss of 13.7 billion yen. Foxconn’s proposal would limit Sharp’s risk while enabling it stay involved in the business.
As part of the deal, Foxconn also hopes to obtain Sharp’s roughly 38% interest in Sakai Display Products, a company jointly run with Sharp that produces LCD panels for televisions.
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I guess the iPhone isn’t getting OLED screens anytime soon then.