Japan Fund Said to Shelve Sharp Investment, Mull LCD Spinoff

  • INCJ plan involves merging LCD business with Japan Display
  • Sharp surged 11 percent after earlier report of INCJ deal

Innovation Network Corp. of Japan has put off a plan to invest about 200 billion yen ($1.6 billion) in Sharp Corp. after the government-backed fund failed to agree on terms with the struggling company’s banks, the Kyodo news agency reported.

The fund, known as INCJ, instead will discuss a plan with Sharp’s creditors to spin off its liquid-crystal-display business and merge it with Japan Display Inc., Kyodo said Wednesday without citing its sources. INCJ is the biggest shareholder in Japan Display.

A call to INCJ outside business hours automatically transferred to an answering machine. 

Sharp is studying various measures to restructure the liquid crystal display business and is in talks with multiple companies as it announced at the time of fiscal second-quarter earnings, spokesman Toyodo Uemura said.

“Nothing has been decided,” he said.

Sharp, a supplier for Apple Inc., has lost more than 1.2 trillion yen during the past four financial years as rival LCD makers undercut its business. President Kozo Takahashi has announced plans to sell the company’s headquarters, withdraw from the TV business in North America and cut back on solar panel manufacturing.

The debt-laden company had considered selling a stake in its LCD operation to INCJ or to Foxconn Technology Group unit Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., people with knowledge of discussions within the companies have said.

Foxconn, an assembler of the iPhone, had signed a letter of intent to buy a stake in Sharp’s LCD business in a deal that would give the Taiwan-based company management control, people familiar with the plan said in September.

Sharp rose as much as 11 percent on Wednesday after Yomiuri reported that INCJ was considering a plan to acquire a majority stake in the consumer-electronics maker. The company’s shares have lost half their value this year.

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