After weeks of public negotiations and notable high-profile setbacks, it seems like Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn and embattled Japanese electronics firm Sharp are finally ready to strike a deal. The two firms said in an announcement Wednesday that Foxconn would be paying $3.5 billion for a 66 percent stake in Sharp.
While the amount is still notable considering the current financial struggles of the Japanese firm, the amount that Foxconn is paying is actually almost $900 million less than its initial offer. The Taiwanese firm withdrew its initial offer after receiving information that Sharp had not declared up to $3 billion in contingent liabilities.
Regardless of the reduced price, however, the acquisition of Sharp entails Foxconn to take on a huge portion of the Japanese firm's ongoing struggles. Sharp has previously announced that it is estimating an operating loss of about 170 billion yen as compared to its profit forecast of 10 billion yen.
Nevertheless, Foxconn is also looking to gain a number of pertinent advantages upon acquiring the Japanese company. For one, acquiring Sharp all but assure Foxconn that its contract with Apple, one of the firm's largest clients, would continue regardless of any changes that the American tech giant would initiate.
After all, just like Foxconn, one of Sharp's largest clients is Apple, with the Japanese electronics manufacturer still under contract as the preferred provider of iPhone screens. Thus, not only would Foxconn be able to access the advancements in technology that Sharp has achieved over the years, it would also, in a lot of ways, be able to expand its business with Apple.
Willy Shih, a professor at Harvard Business School, believes that Foxconn's decision to acquire Sharp is logical. He also believes, however, that it might be a risky gambit for the Taiwanese tech giant as well.
"On the one hand, you can see why Foxconn is trying to do it. It's not clear the economics make sense, but it's that they need to control more and more of the supply chain," he said.
Sharp investors welcomed the announcement, with the Japanese firm's stocks surging four percent on Wednesday. Foxconn's stocks, on the other hand, were suspended for the Wednesday session.