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Foxconn trumps Japanese rival in $5.2 billion bid for Sharp

The iPhone manufacturer is very interested in Sharp's display business.
Steve Dent, @stevetdent
01.21.16 in AV

Sharp may have mounds of debt and falling sales, but it has one thing that China's Foxconn doesn't -- display technology used by Apple and others. That's reportedly why Foxconn has bid 625 billion yen ($5.4 billion) to buy the troubled company, according to the WSJ. That bid is over double the 300 billion yen ($2.6 billion) offered by an Japanese investment fund called Innovation Network Corp. In addition, Foxconn will absorb all of Sharp's considerable debt -- the company has a 510 billion yen ($4.4 billion) payment due soon on a series of loans to Japanese banks, for example.

The Japanese government isn't keen to let Sharp fall into foreign hands, given the company's advanced display manufacturing know-how. However, Foxconn chairman Terry Gou already owns a large stake in a Sharp factory, and the company tried to reassure officials by saying it won't replace senior management. Sharp will reportedly make a decision about the offer by the end of its next fiscal quarter, but it may not have much of a choice. Despite numerous job cuts, the company lost 222 billion yen ($1.9 billion) last year. Foxconn, meanwhile, made $1.1 billion in its last fiscal quarter alone.

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