Following months of rumors and delays, Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group has approved a deal to buy 66 percent of Japanese firm Sharp. According to a report from Bloomberg, the companies announced the move in a joint statement this morning, with Foxconn's board agreeing to pay 389 billion yen ($3.5 billion) for a controlling stake in Sharp.
Foxconn beat out a rival bid backed by the Japanese government to complete the deal, with the company's chairman Terry Gou chasing a takeover of Sharp since 2012. A tentative agreement was announced earlier this year, but delayed after new information about Sharp's financial liabilities came to light. Details were unclear, but it was reported that these could exceed $2.7 billion. Today's final buyout price reflects this, with the $3.5 billion price tag a steep drop from the $6.24 billion figure Sharp announced in February.
Foxconn's buyout of Sharp reflects the changing fortunes of both companies. While Foxconn is best known as a contractor, manufacturing and assembling goods for other electronics companies, Gou reportedly wants the company to start selling its own electronics to consumers. Buying Sharp also gets Foxconn a lot of display expertise, which the company could use to try and bid for contracts to make future iPhone displays.
Sharp, meanwhile, has been struggling for years, with debt and dwindling profits. In 2012, Sharp was the worst performing major firm, with the company predicting record losses of $5.6 billion as global demand for TVs fell. It was at this point that Foxconn first made overtures towards the company, offering to buy shares at 550 yen apiece in a deal that later fell through.