Update Feb 25th, 11:41 AM: After Sharp accepted its bid, Foxconn said it would delay signing the takeover agreement. According to sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal, Foxconn received a list of "contingent liabilities" worth ¥350 billion from Sharp on Wednesday. The article below still reflects the original news of Sharp's announcement.
Foxconn will take over Sharp in a deal worth about 700 billion yen (about $6.24 billion), Sharp announced today, confirming months of reports that the huge Taiwanese corporation was looking to buy the Japanese firm. Foxconn's share purchase will give it control of 65.9 percent of Sharp, the Taiwanese company beating out competition from a Innovation Network Corp. of Japan, a group funded by the Japanese government, to complete one of the biggest ever acquisitions of a Japanese company by a foreign entity.
Foxconn has been chasing Sharp for four years
Foxconn president Terry Gou said his firm had been been chasing Sharp for at least four years. His company reportedly offering the Japanese company 600 billion yen (about $5.1 billion) earlier this year, and upping its bid to 659 billion yen (about $5.44 billion) soon afterwards, before agreeing on the final price. Sharp has suffered heavy losses in recent years, but Gou's company has promised to inject billions in a bid to establish it as one of the world's major suppliers of the next generation of smartphone screens, aiming to compete with Samsung to possibly provide Apple with OLED displays for future iPhones.
Some analysts criticized the planned deal ahead of time, citing Foxconn's lack of experience in Sharp's sector and possible conflicts of interest, while others in Japan argued Sharp should remain under Japanese ownership, but the WSJ says the Taiwanese company was reportedly willing to pay extra to win over Sharp's board members. The deal — if accepted by Japanese regulators — would also be good for Apple, which likely doesn't want to rely on Samsung alone for OLED screens.