One month ago, Sharp announced that it had been acquired by Foxconn. However, Foxconn had not yet signed the agreement. They have now and Foxconn has agreed to acquire 66% of Japanese Sharp at a greatly reduced price. Foxconn will gain access to Sharp's advanced LCD display manufacturing and display tech.
Foxconn takes over Sharp
Sharp was founded over 100 years ago and has a rich tradition in consumer electronics. Sharp was also the first Japanese manufacturer to produce a TV screen. However, in recent years Korean and Chinese brands have taken over.
Taiwanese Foxconn - or Hon Hai - is the world's largest contract manufacturer. They assemble products such as Apple iPhone, Sony PlayStation, Microsoft Xbox, Amazon Kindle and many more. And with today’s deal they are hoping to sell in-house products under the Sharp brand.
Foxconn also gains access to Sharp’s display manufacturing plants and expertise. Sharp has one of the world’s most advanced LCD display manufacturing setups, including a 10th generation LCD factory. This factory can produce the world’s largest LCD displays of 100 inches and larger. Sharp has supplied LCD panels to its electronics division for use in Sharp TVs as well as other companies such as Apple. Sharp has also been researching OLED technology.
Foxconn wanted Sharp in 2012
Foxconn has shown interest in taking control over Sharp since 2012. With the deal Sharp is one of the few Japanese electronics giants to fall into foreign hands.
On February 24, 2016 Sharp publicly announced that a deal with Foxconn had been reached. However, Foxconn had yet to sign the papers. It took another month for the two companies to iron out the last details. Today, they have announced that Foxconn will acquire a controlling 66% stake in Sharp for 88 yen per share. On 24 February, Sharp traded at 118 yen per share.
This means that Foxconn will pay 398 billion yen ($3.5 billion USD) instead of the previous 700 billion yen ($6.24 billion USD). In 2012, Foxconn would have had to pay more than six times the amount.
What will become of Sharp is still unclear. The license to sell Sharp-branded TVs have already been sold to other parties. It appears that Foxconn is interested in selling electronics products under the Sharp brand but the main reason for the takeover appears to be a plan to vertically integrate itself into display manufacturing.