Economic difficulties made things more complicated than expected, but Sharp and Sony have finally inked an agreement on a billion dollar joint venture that will see Sony initially taking a 7% stake later this year, rising to 34% by the end of April 2011. The key here is for Sony to get access to the production, while Sharp sees this as just the first of several deals that will allow it to sell half of the 13 million 42-inch TVs produced annually to other manufacturers. The Nikkei says deals with Toshiba and European manufacturers are on the table, so despite what your next TV says on the front, there's a decent chance it originates at the Sakai plant scheduled to open in October.

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Sony, Sharp 10G LCD production plant deal officially official