Samsung Electronics will become the fifth-largest stakeholder of its Japanese rival Sharp as the Korean tech giant announced plans on Wednesday to invest around $111 million in the financially hit electronics maker.
The world’s top handset and television maker said it is planning to invest the money in Sharp within this month in exchange for securing a 3 percent stake in the Japanese firm. The move, which is the first capital tie-up between industry-leading Korean and Japanese electronic firms, will enable Samsung to be Sharp’s No. 1 stakeholder when excluding financial agencies.
“We’re strengthening our cooperation with Sharp to secure a stable supply channel of liquid-crystal display panels,” it said in a statement.
The event takes place as the Osaka-based Sharp seems desperate to raise funds and secure customers for its liquid-crystal display business. The firm, which is a display supplier to Apple Inc., was placed in a tough situation when its planned investment from Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry fell through last year.
Samsung’s TV and home appliance chief Yoon Boo-keun told reporters at the firm’s office in southern Seoul on Wednesday that “the investment in Sharp was being injected to better respond to the big-screen TV market.”
If the capital tie-up proceeds successfully, Sharp will have enough funds to overcome its financial difficulties, while Samsung will have a reliable supplier for LCD products, said industry sources.
Sharp has already injected investments and is equipped with the skills to produce LCD screens ranging from 40 inches to 70 inches.
The competition to garner a greater share in the big-screen TV market has intensified lately with TV makers like LG, Sony and Panasonic as well as Chinese rivals TCL and Hisense taking part in the game.
Samsung can now concentrate on the development of the next-generation organic light-emitting diode displays, which it has yet to mass produce, with a low-cost supply of LCD TV displays from Sharp.
On top of such reasons, Samsung may be able to get their hands on information involving the latest products of its biggest U.S. rival Apple as long as Sharp remains as its supplier. Sharp is currently producing display panels for the iPhone at its Kameyama plant.
By Cho Ji-hyun (email@example.com