Hon Hai considering buying S$2.37b stake in Sharp LCD unit: Paper

The logo of Foxconn, the trading name of Hon Hai Precision Industry, is seen on top of the company's headquarters in Tucheng, New Taipei city.
The logo of Foxconn, the trading name of Hon Hai Precision Industry, is seen on top of the company's headquarters in Tucheng, New Taipei city.PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry is considering buying a majority stake in Sharp's loss-making LCD business for up to 200 billion yen (S$2.37 billion), Japan's Mainichi newspaper said on Monday (Sept 28), without citing any sources.

The newspaper said Hon Hai planned to ask iPhone maker and customer Apple, which is also a Sharp client, to invest a "few hundred million dollars" to help fund the purchase.

Sharp declined to comment. Hon Hai executives were not immediately available for comment. An official at the Japanese unit of Apple said no one was immediately available to comment.

Shares in Sharp closed morning trade up 1.4 per cent, outperforming a 1.1 per cent fall in the benchmark Nikkei average .

The Nikkei business daily last week reported that Hon Hai had offered to buy the entire LCD business, but it did specify how much Hon Hai was willing to pay.

Sharp was once a highly profitable manufacturer of premium TVs and screens, but competition from cheaper Asian rivals has shrunk its market share.

In May, Sharp sought a bailout of roughly US$1.9 billion (S$2.7 billion) from banks and promised to cut 10 per cent of its staff.

Tie-up talks between Hon Hai and Sharp fell through in 2012 after the Japanese company baulked at demands that it said would have given the Taiwanese firm too much control. The two companies jointly operate a plant in Osaka that makes large LCD panels.