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Philips Sells 6.7% Stake In LG Display Co.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands — Philips sold nearly $1 billion worth of shares in LCD panel manufacturer LG Display on Thursday, sending share prices for the South Korean joint venture plunging 9 percent.

The International Herald Tribune, citing sources familiar with the sale, reported that Philips sold 24 million ordinary shares (a 6.7 percent stake) at $44 per share, which would have been an 8.1 percent discount on Wednesday’s closing price.

Philips was expected to sell off more stock in the venture as it focuses on its core businesses.

The latest sale reduces Philips’ stake in the company to 13.2 percent from 19.9 percent. Philips has said it wants to focus its investments on medical equipment, lighting and consumer electronics. Philips’ partner, LG Electronics, holds a 37.9 percent stake in the operation.

LG Display started in 1999 as a 50-50 joint venture between Philips and LG Electronics. It made its initial public offering in 2004.

LG Display reported record net profit in the October-December quarter and has forecasted stronger results for 2008 as flat-screen television sales continue to grow and panel supplies remain tight.