TOKYO – Japan’s cash-strapped Sharp Corp. is reportedly in detailed talks with both Intel Corp. and Qualcomm Inc. for an investment of up to $500 million, the Kyodo News agency reported Tuesday (Nov. 14).
Reuters also reported Wednesday that the joint investment in Sharp would total about $378 million. The news agency cited two unnamed sources allegedly familiar with the talks.
None of the companies has confirmed the talks.
The investment by the world’s largest CPU vendor and the leading mobile chip supplier is badly needed by Sharp, which is weighted down by an expected annual loss estimated at $5.6 billion. Sharp warned earlier this month that it may not be able to survive as an independent company. After announcing a massive quarterly loss on Nov. 1, the company acknowledged "serious negative operating cash flow."
Intel is said to be interested in Sharp’s power-saving IGZO displays for its Ultrabook line.
Reuters reported that Sharp may reach an agreement as early as the end of November with Qualcomm, while "talks with Intel are less concrete amid the chip maker's unclear financial picture."
Well, none of the companies mentioned in the story as potential investors will be a winner -- unless Sharp gets its act together. There is still a lot of work ahead for Sharp. Even if either Intel or Qualcomm can bring their customers to Sharp as potential buyers of Sharp's small to mid-range panels, that's not an automatic win either for Qualcomm or Intel -- unless Sharp can deliver goods on time, in good quality, in volume and at the price their customers demand.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.