Sony Ends Sharp LCD Panel Joint Venture


Tokyo - Following its recently announced plans to scale back in-house television component production, Sony Corp. said Thursday that it is ending its joint venture with Sharp to produce and sell large-screen LCDs.

According to reports from Japan,


will sell back to Sharp its 7 percent stake in the Sharp Display Products Corp. joint venture that began in 2009.

Sony will receive 10 billion yen ($126 million) for the stake, which is what it originally invested in the operation based in Sakai city, western Japan.

Sony also recently ended a flat-panel joint venture with Samsung Electronics.

The move to exit Sharp's panel production business was forewarned in April 2011, when Sony said it would not raise its investment in the Sharp Display Products operation to a reported 34 percent, as originally expected.

At the time Sony blamed supply outpacing television demand due to competitive efforts from South Korean and Taiwanese manufacturers, a condition that continues.

Sony has lost money from its television operations for eight straight years. This led recently appointed Sony Corp. president Kazuo Hirai to reveal his "One Sony" turnaround plan that is taking emphasis off of the television category while shifting attention and resources to more profitable core sectors, including imaging, gaming and mobile devices.

Hirai is personally overseeing television operations, which are slated to eventually commercialize next-generation AMOLED, Crystal LED and 4K TV technologies.

In the meantime, Sony plans to purchase LCD panels from other manufacturers.

Sony reported a record annual loss of 457 billion yen ($5.7 billion) for the fiscal year ending in March. It is projecting a return to profit this fiscal year.                        

Sharp, meanwhile, announced in March that it had sold a 10 percent stake in newly issued company shares to Taiwan-based Foxconn Technology Group and an additional stake in its LCD display unit to Foxconn's founder.

Foxconn chairman Terry Gou is to acquire 46.5 percent of Sharp's display unit.


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