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January 17, 2013

Struggling TV Maker Sharp to Partner Up with Lenovo

By Jody Ray Bennett, TMCnet Contributing Writer

After losing money for years, Japanese TV maker, Sharp (News - Alert) could be selling some assets and starting a joint venture with Chinese PC maker Lenovo. Sharp's shares shot up lately, to 337 yen, as reports of its talks with Lenovo (News - Alert) have been surfacing in the media.

In a statement to the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Sharp declined announcing any talks between them and Lenovo. According to this report, "Sharp plans to sell its subsidiary operating a LCD TV assembly plant in Nanjing to the Chinese PC maker this year and convert its other Chinese subsidiaries into 50 percent joint ventures."

The two companies are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding this month. Sharp's liquid crystal display TV assembly plant in Nanjing, China, will be sold to Lenovo by the end of 2013. Sharp and Lenovo could also be starting a partnership to promote Sharp's LCD TV, Aquos, in China, with the possibility of expanding the partnership to Latin America and Southeast Asia. As per their agreement, LCD TVs sold in China will still carry Sharp's brand and model name.

Sharp Corp. has also been having talks with Taiwanese company Wistron Corporation about the sale of another one of their LCD TV factories in Malaysia. Also from Taiwan, Hon Hai Precision is interested in Sharp's Chinese and Mexican plants. The sale of the plants could help Sharp raise close to 30 billion yen (US$338.4 million).

Sharp's stock dropped 55 percent last year and it's predicted that it will lose 450 billion yen (US$5.07 billion) for the year ending March 31. Back in December of 2012, Sharp made a 9.9 billion yen ($112 million) deal with US-based chipmaker Qualcomm (News - Alert) and agreed to co-develop, through its Pixtronix subsidiary, an energy efficient LCD panel for smartphones, based on Sharp's IGZO technology. Qualcomm will receive approximately 2.64 percent of Sharp Corp's stock.

In order to be able to repay short-term commercial loans, Sharp won a 360 billion yen ($4.07 billion) bailout from Mizuho Corporate Bank and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi (News - Alert) UFJ.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO Miami 2013, Jan 29- Feb. 1 in Miami, Florida.  Stay in touch with everything happening at ITEXPO (News - Alert). Follow us on Twitter.

Edited by Brooke Neuman
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