Foxconn, the world's largest component fabricator for assembling Apple's iPhones, has offered about ¥625bn (£3.7bn, $5.3bn) to acquire Sharp, the troubled iPhone display supplier . Sharp has been bailed out twice by banks as the company has been going through some serious financial crisis in the last three years.
According to Wall Street Journal, Sharp owes ¥510bn to Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. by March. Consequently, the company's decision to welcome an acquisition seems to be dependent on the economics of the deal.
Foxconn's earlier attempt at buying a large stake in Sharp did not materialise, as the 2013 deal was killed over share price dispute. Meanwhile, the Japanese government is not happy about Sharp being acquired by a foreign entity as it takes pride in Sharp remaining a Japanese-owned company.
"Japan's technology is leading the rest of the world and we would like to help make it even more competitive," Industry Minister Motoo Hayashi said.
Foxconn has, however, offered more money for Sharp than Japan's government-backed investment fund aka Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ), which is reportedly considering a bid of around ¥300bn, as reported by Nikkei newspaper. However, it is still unclear if the INCJ bid would get any concessions from Sharp's main creditors.
On the brighter side, Foxconn has reassured Japanese officials, saying it has no intentions to replace Sharp's top management but it would like to "shoulder all of its debt based on economics of the deal, rather than political considerations".
In related news, it is reported that Sharp stock values jumped up by 20% soon after the acquisition news spread online. A final decision between the company and its lenders on the acquisition deal is pending for 4 February.