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Foxconn seals $3.5B takeover of Sharp as execs seek to shake off doubts

Foxconn seals 3.5B takeover of SharpFoxconn and Sharp Corp on Saturday formally signed a long-awaited deal that would see the Taiwan firm take control of the Japanese display maker, as executives sought to dispel lingering doubts over whether Sharp can turn around its ebbing fortunes.

At a packed news conference following the signing of the $3.5 billion deal, Foxconn CEO Terry Gou ducked questions about how – and when – Sharp would become profitable again, but expressed confidence in the Japanese company’s ability to bounce back with its highly regarded technology.

Foxconn-logoGou pointed to Sharp’s proprietary know-how to mass-produce the advanced IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) display technology as a standout, calling it superior to the popular OLED (organic light-emitting diode) technology. IGZO technology is used in products such as Apple iPad.

«Everybody is saying OLED,» Gou said at the event held at Foxconn and Sharp’s jointly owned liquid crystal display factory in Sakai, western Japan.

Gou said he expected IGZO technology to be used in 60 percent of Sharp’s displays in future, against 40 percent for OLEDs.

Nonetheless, turning around a company saddled with losses after two bank bailouts would not be easy and would require Foxconn to work «very hard,» Gou conceded.

«I’m not going to sugar-coat the challenges,» he said. «But I have a clear roadmap in my heart,» the Foxconn chief added, suggesting that a detailed turnaround plan for Sharp is far from finalized.

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