According to a new report this morning, Foxconn Electronics is looking to buy Sharp's LCD business and is also looking to seek funding from Apple to make the move, according to media report in Japan. Foxconn with Apple assistance would help prevent a merger between Sharp and rival Japan Display that could reduce Apple's display supply access while possibly increase costs.
Market observers said Sharp has continued to struggle with falling LCD panel prices to smartphone vendors, particularly in China. The Nikkei report noted not only would Foxconn consider purchasing a large stake in Sharp's LCD business, it would also purchase Sharp's 38% stake in a display factory that the two firms jointly operate in Sakai, Japan.
The news of Foxconn trying to invest in Sharp has been in the news several times over the last year. In March of this year Gou said through a statement that his investments in Sharp are aimed at gaining a role in the Japanese firm's management, and achieving other win-win situations for both parties, such as cross-licensing and the transferal of patented technologies.
When Sharp reject Foxconn's offer, Foxconn reportedly had given up plans to invest in Sharp, adding that the two firms reached a consensus to stop investment negotiations. With Sharp now determined to sell due falling LCD panel pricing, a likely deal is likely to occur in the next year. But as always, only time will tell.