Foxconn seals Sharp buyout deal on vastly reduced terms

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Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group has completed the buyout of Japan’s Sharp Corp. for a knockdown price of 389 billion yen ($3.5 billion) – some 100 billion yen below a previous agreement first announced in February.

The deal brings to an end weeks of fraught negotiations and delays caused by certain undisclosed liabilities at Sharp that forced Foxconn to renegotiate its offer to secure a 66% stake in the firm.

The total amount paid for the acquisition is likely to increase, especially pertaining to the purchase of remaining Sharp stocks. This could amount to a further 100 billion yen investment on the part of Foxconn.

Sharp Corp. expects to post a fiscal year operating loss of 170 billion yen ($1.51 billion) this week, which serves to outline the precarious financial position that the company has found itself in.

Its solar business was one of the first "canaries in the mine", foretelling troubles for the electronics giant that have since come to pass. Earlier in the year it was rumored that Japan’s Solar Frontier had expressed an interest in snapping up Sharp solar, but Solar Frontier CEO Atsuhiko Hirano confirmed to pv magazine earlier this month that no serious discussions had ever taken place.

When news first broke that Foxconn had been chosen as Sharp’s buyer, Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) analyst Takehiro Kawahara told pv magazine that the deal would likely mean more emphasis on Sharp providing integrated solar, storage and energy management systems for the commercial and residential space.

"It will also likely mean divesting from PV manufacturing, particularly in shutting down older plants in Japan that are no longer economically viable," he said, adding that the Sharp brand name for solar modules is likely to survive.