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Japan Won’t Give Up Sharp Without a Fight

Abe props up another zombie despite his deregulation pledge.
Sharp Expects Profit from TV Operations
Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe came into office on a pledge of resuscitating the economy with market reforms and stimulus programs. Now his government’s commitment to shareholder rights faces scrutiny in the case of troubled electronics giant Sharp.

Although the Osaka-based company is a household name because of its TVs, it’s long operated in the red. For the year ending in March, analysts estimate a loss of 82 billion yen ($694 million). Sharp is in talks with two possible saviors: Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group and a government-backed fund called Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ). Foxconn is offering $5.1 billion; INCJ plans to bid $2.6 billion.