Foxconn's Hon Hai still working with Sharp on investment deal

The two companies held a five-hour discussion on an investment this past Sunday

Foxconn's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. said it was still committed to buying a stake in Japanese display maker Sharp, and expects an investment could be completed within three months if a price can be agreed on.

Both companies have been locked in negotiations over an investment, announced in March 2012, that would have had Hon Hai buy a 9.9 percent stake in Sharp. But so far, the two electronic giants have struggled to make a deal after Sharp's stock price dramatically fell last year from its ongoing financial woes.

This past Sunday, the executives from two companies held a five-hour discussion at which they both agreed to continue with the partnership, Hon Hai said in a Tuesday statement. The negotiations over an investment are subject to a three-year validity period that will last until March 26, 2015.

"Hon Hai hopes that with the support of a consortium of financial institutions, we can conclude the investment within three months of the price agreement," the company added.

Hon Hai announced in March 2012 it would invest about US$806 million in Sharp for newly issued shares.

Sharp said the payment by Hon Hai for the shares had not been received by Tuesday, the last day for the deal. The two companies continue to discuss other possible deals, said a Sharp spokeswoman on Tuesday. At the same time, the Japanese display maker is looking at possibly obtaining investment from other investors.

The two companies already have important ties, and both count Apple as a major client. Foxconn Technology Group, which includes Hon Hai, also assembles TVs for Sharp's Vizio Line.

If a deal is made, Hon Hai is expected to gain greater access to Sharp's LCD technologies, along with its manufacturing capacity, according to analysts. This could support Sharp's TV business, and also secure an LCD panel supply for Apple's rumored TV product.

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Michael Kan

IDG News Service
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