Foxconn offered $5.3 billion to buy struggling Japanese electronics maker Sharp.
Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that assembles the bulk of the world’s iPhones, has offered about ¥625 billion ($5.3 billion) to take over troubled Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. Sharp, which has been bailed out repeatedly by banks, is set to review a competing offer from Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, a government-backed investment fund. A person familiar with the matter said the fund was weighing a bid of around ¥300 billion, a figure earlier reported by the Nikkei newspaper. It wasn’t clear whether the INCJ bid would require concessions from Sharp’s main creditors.
Japanese officials have expressed concern about letting Sharp come under foreign control, citing the company’s technology in display panels. Innovation Network Corp. of Japan already owns a controlling stake in Japan Display Inc., another major display maker. Officials say the two Japanese panel makers share know-how in next-generation panel technology and mass production. “Japan’s technology is leading the rest of the world and we would like to help make it even more competitive,” industry minister Motoo Hayashi said this week. Although INCJ is the preferred buyer among Tokyo officials because it would keep Sharp under Japanese control, Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., is offering more money for Sharp and a willingness to shoulder all of its debt, people familiar with the offer said.
Sharp was saddled with total debt of 791.8 billion yen as of Sept. 30, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Osaka-based company has booked more than 1.1 trillion yen in losses over the past four financial years as stiffer competition from South Korean and Chinese rivals undercut its business.