Foxconn said to bid over US$5b for Sharp

Sharp is said to be reviewing a competing offer from a Japanese company

Large contract manufacturer Foxconn has bid to take over ailing Sharp for its display business and manufacturing know-how, according to news reports.

Sharp, which has had to take the help of banks frequently, is said to be set to consider a review of a competing offer from the Japanese government-backed Innovation Network Corporation of Japan, which could be favored because of the government's interest in keeping the company in local hands and protecting jobs.

Foxconn, which assembles products for a number of companies including Apple, has bid 625 billion yen (US$5.3 billion), according to The Wall Street Journal, while Bloomberg said the offer was slightly lower at about 600 billion yen, both quoting people familiar with the matter. The company could not be immediately reached for comment.

Sharp has been a household brand in Japan and includes among its creations the "Hayakawa mechanical pencil," named after the company's founder and developer of the device, Tokuji Hayakawa. Propelling pencils are still referred to in the country as "Sharp pens."

After reports surfaced recently of the possible sale of its LCD panel business as well as on the possible investment from Innovation, Sharp said last week nothing had been decided yet, and it continues negotiations with other companies regarding "fundamental structural reforms" of its LCD panel business.

Foxconn does not plan to replace Sharp’s top management, a move that could reassure Japanese officials who are worried about a foreign takeover bid, WSJ said. The Taiwanese company has previously shown interest in investing in a 10 percent stake in Sharp.

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