Foxconn may buy Sharp’s LCD business, with assistance from Apple

Sharp’s LCD spinoff may end up in the hands of manufacturing giant Foxconn, thanks to a potential investment by Apple, helping to give the iPhone maker greater control of its sprawling supply chain.

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Foxconn has apparently made a proposal to purchase Sharp’s LCD business, according to Nikkei. In the potential deal, Foxconn would take a majority stake of the LCD maker, while Apple would also contribute.   Apple already has a major stake in Sharp’s LCD business — the company’s Kameyama plant No. 1 in Japan solely produces displays for Apple’s iPhone. Apple is said to have supplied more than half of the 100 billion yen, or $987 million, needed to transition the plant from HDTV panels to smartphone LCDs, giving the Cupertino company operational control of the facility.    A Foxconn takeover of Sharp’s LCD spinoff could have numerous benefits, according to Nikkei — it would allow Foxconn to limit Sharp’s risk but enable the company to stay involved in the business, and it could also enable Sharp to keep its Japanese staff.   It’s said that lenders value the Sharp LCD business at about $2.5 billion U.S. It is unknown how much a Foxconn takeover could run, or how much more Apple would be willing to invest in the facilities.   Sharp has been floating a variety of potential restructuring plans for some time. But as of last month, talks seemed to push toward a partnership between Sharp and Foxconn. – Samsung, LG, Panasonic, and Vizio just got an aggressive competitor (Foxconn) who likely has the full backing of Apple to pull this LCD business thrust.

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