£3.7bn offer would see iPhone maker gain control of Apple’s current display manufacturer
Foxconn has made a bid of 625 billion yen (£3.7bn) for Sharp, which supplies displays to many leading smartphone, tablet and television manufacturers, as it looks to gain control of another key component maker, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The bid is over double the 300 billion yen (£1.8bn) recently offered by government-backed Japanese investment fund Innovation Network Corp. Foxconn is also offering to take on all of Sharp’s debts, which have been troubling the Japanese company for some time.
“We’re talking with several companies about the structural improvement of liquid-crystal-display business. We don’t comment on the details of individual talks,” Sharp spokesman Yoshifumi Seki told Bloomberg.
Sharp will reportedly make a decision about the offer by the end of its next fiscal quarter, but may find it hard to reject the bid, as the company lost 222 billion yen (£1.34bn) last year despite major job cuts, and has been bailed out by banks several times.
The most significant opposition will probably come from the Japanese government itself, which is thought to be unwilling to let Sharp fall into foreign ownership, especially given the company’s links with partners such as Apple.
Shares in Sharp rose 25 percent on the Tokyo stock exchange following the news.
Foxconn has previously expressed interest in Sharp in the past, having offered 66.9 billion yen (£404m) for a 9.88 percent stake in Sharp back in 2012, although talks ultimately broke down.
However, the Chinese company has revealed its own financial difficulties in recent months, cutting its estimated 1.3 million workforce due to declining revenue growth back in January 2015.
What do you know about the latest iPhone? Try our quiz!