Deadline for Hon Hai to invest in Sharp lapses with no deal

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 26, 2013 2:33 PM
Deadline for Hon Hai to invest in Sharp lapses with no deal

TOKYO (Reuters) - The deadline for Hon Hai Precision Industry Co to buy a stake in Sharp Corp lapsed Tuesday without any deal, ending an agreement forged last year that would have made the Taiwanese firm the No.1 shareholder in the Japanese TV maker.

Talks for Hon Hai to purchase as much as a 9.9 percent stake stalled after Sharp balked at its demand for a degree of management control. Hon Hai also sought to lower the $708 million price tag after Sharp's shares slumped in the wake of losses that prompted a bailout from its banks last year.

Those banks, which include Mizuho Financial Group Inc and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc, had not been expecting a revised deal with Hon Hai, sources told Reuters last month.

As talks with Hon Hai unraveled, Sharp concluded smaller investment deals with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Qualcomm Inc. It may also have to find other ways to raise money to repay a $2.1 billion convertible bond due in September.

Sources at Sharp and its banks, as well as analysts, have told Reuters that they expect the Japanese liquid crystal display pioneer will resort to equity financing to make up any shortfall in funding after it adds up available cashflow and gains from asset and stake sales.

Possible asset disposals before September include the sale of its TV assembly plant in China to Lenovo Group Ltd and the sale of its Mexico factory to Hon Hai.

Sharp remains tied to Hon Hai through their joint ownership of the world's most advanced LCD plant in Sakai, western Japan. The two companies are also cooperating in smartphones in the Chinese market.

Sharp's shares fell 1.7 percent to close at 290 yen in Tokyo on Tuesday, ahead of Sharp's announcement that the deadline for the deal with Hon Hai had lapsed.

(Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Ryan Woo)