Hon Hai agreed in March to acquire
a 9.9 percent stake in Sharp for 550 yen a share, providing the Japanese
company with 66.9 billion yen. As the companies renegotiated the deal, Sharp's share price fell to a 38-year low in mid-August to
164 yen. Talks stalled after top executives from both companies met in Osaka at the end of August.
The two companies, to date, have been unable to come up with a reworked deal.
Sharp president Takashi Okuda said the company is still talking with Hon Hai, adding that Sharp is also "considering other alliances," according to Nikkei, Japan’s
While Okuda didn't elaborate, media reports have speculated that
Sharp approached Apple, Intel, Google, Microsoft and
Hewlett-Packard about a possible capital investment in exchange for access to Sharp's LCD technology. None of those reports has been confirmed.
A more likely scenario, according to Japanese industry sources, involves Japan’s Ministry of
Economy, Trade and Industry bailling out Sharp as it did in engineering a rescue package for chip maker Renesas.
Ministry officials have expressed growing concern about the loss of indigenous technologies and the possibility that Sharp could be swallowed by Foxconn's parent company.
July-September quarter, Sharp posted a net loss of 249.1 billion yen
($3.11 billion), compared to a net profit of 9.4 billion yen in the same
period a year earlier. Revenue fell 4 percent to 645.5 billion yen from the
Sharp also reported an additional loss
of 84.4 billion yen stemming from restructuring costs. It also wrote down its
deferred tax assets by 61 billion yen.
It is due to a number of write-offs the company had to make.
In the first half of the current fiscal year alone (April to September, 2012), Sharp said it made a net loss of 387.5 billion yen as a result of rising restructuring costs and falling demand for LCD televisions.
It booked 84.4 billion yen of extraordinary charges as it wrote off the value of surplus display inventory and pulled out of solar panel manufacturing.
It also wrote off 61 billion yen of so-called deferred tax assets – corporate-tax credits it could redeem if it returned to profit. But that's a prospect that doesn't look good for now.
Maybe the firm needs to just focus in on just a few of its more profitable business units and sell of the rest. That way it could stay independent, and run leaner and meaner. Easy to say, tough to do, I know... but it's not like the company doesn't have a choice.
If Sharp gets rid of its LCD operation, there is really nothing left.
It's got solar, but that's tanking -- everywhere in the world.
Presumably, Sharp could focus on small-screen LCDs for mobile. But then, again, that's a very competitive market.
The fact that it makes harder for a Japanese company to make a huge change, as discussed in the thread here, is the following. Japanese companies, in general, are not in the habit of ruthlessly cutting employees at the first sign of decline in any given quarter.
They won't act fast.
But to their credit, Japanese companies are much more paternalistic. They see themselves socially responsible for taking care of their employees.
Being socially responsible is actually making lots of sense for me...we tend to dump engineers in North America at every sign of biz weakness...good for companies, perhaps, not so good for the society at large...kris
I agree, Kris.
I feel ambivalent every time when I report on quarterly results.
But those are the early warning signs no companies should take it lightly, and they should come up with a strategy -- quickly.
If Sharp runs themselves into ground, then, there will be no Sharp and no place to work!
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.