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Samsung Takes Part of Sharp, Upsetting Industry’s Balance

Samsung, which won’t be involved in Sharp’s management, should get a steady supply of LCDs for its money

Sharp, the big Apple supplier fighting for its life, is going to sell a roughly 3% position in itself to Samsung, which is an even bigger Apple supplier and one of Sharp's biggest rivals.

The price is reportedly about a cheap $112 million, below market value.

Sharp is trying to claw back from a record loss attributed to slowing demand for TVs and Apple iPhones, but may simply have to get acquired.

Samsung, which won't be involved in Sharp's management, should get a steady supply of LCDs for its money.

Sharp, the largest LCD maker in Japan, also sold a piece of itself to Qualcomm, the mobile chipmaker, after failing to close a deal with Foxconn a year after negotiations started. The talks reportedly floundered on the price of the stock. Foxconn is talking about returning to the bargaining table.

Talks with Intel apparently also hit the rocks.

Apple is Sharp's biggest customer for screens for iPad and iPhone, which is losing serious market share to Samsung phones, reportedly resulting in Sharp stopping production.

The Wall Street Journal says the deal, if completed, "would mark a historic shift in the balance of power in the electronics industry. While Japanese companies once dominated, Samsung's emergence as a manufacturing and technological force has reshaped the landscape."

It's a serious national comeuppance for Japan and could impact the balance of Sharp's relationship with Apple, cutting its dependence on the American company, a victory of sorts for Samsung.

No wonder Apple doesn't want to pay out its treasure to shareholders just yet although Apple could presumably have always written a check.

More Stories By Maureen O'Gara

Maureen O'Gara the most read technology reporter for the past 20 years, is the Cloud Computing and Virtualization News Desk editor of SYS-CON Media. She is the publisher of famous "Billygrams" and the editor-in-chief of "Client/Server News" for more than a decade. One of the most respected technology reporters in the business, Maureen can be reached by email at maureen(at)sys-con.com or paperboy(at)g2news.com, and by phone at 516 759-7025. Twitter: @MaureenOGara

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