Hon Hai Precision Industry, the parent company of Foxconn, is set to make a major move with an acquisition of almost 10 per cent of Sharp, and nearly half its LCD panel subsidiary.
Foxconn will splash out 133 billion yen ($1.6 billion) to acquire 10 per cent of Sharp Corp in newly issued shares, along with buying up 47 per cent of Sharp Display Products. Sharp has been battered by the poorly performing TV industry, as have all set manufacturers, with a forecast record loss incoming to the tune of 290 billion yen for this fiscal year.
A researcher at IHS reckons that Sharp may be supplying panels for Apple's iPad as soon as next month.
Analysts have labelled this a daring move. Vincent Chen, a Taipei-based analyst at Financial Holding Co, commented: "This is a risky and aggressive move by Foxconn, which is betting on current and future Apple products, including the iPad and an Apple television, a product which doesn't even exist. Foxconn needs the acquisition to get advanced display technology, which it currently lacks."
Sharp's advanced screen technology, IGZO, will be destined for the new iPad.
The rumoured Apple TV or iTV definitely isn't a certainty, even though some rumours have pretty much painted it that way. Some even believe that the iTV is due to start production in May - others are looking towards the end of the year.