Japan’s biggest maker of liquid-crystal-display panels is reportedly in talks with several US companies for a capital injection in exchange for a stake in the company and a "stable supply of breakthrough display technology". According to the Wall Street Journal, Sharp is hoping to take in ¥20 billion (about $240 million) from both Dell and Intel, and is discussing a smaller investment with Qualcomm.
The company is doing everything it can to return to profitability by 2014, including layoffs, seeking voluntary retirements, reducing pay and selling TV assembly factories. But with a second-straight yearly loss in the horizon -- and a record ¥450 billion one at that, according to their forecast -- it’s time for more aggressive measures or risk its ability to survive.
A capital investment would help Sharp stay afloat a while longer to keep developing its IGZO display technology. The name derives from a new material -- indium gallium zinc oxide -- which enables higher pixel density and lower power consumption in panels destined for smartphones, tablets, and other devices. The company is banking on strong demand for these panels to help fuel its turnaround, but so far they’ve struggled with low production yields, thus limiting their availability to a few phones and tablets in Japan.
Sharp is not the only company going through tough times in Japan's embattled electronics sector. Both Panasonic and Sony are seeking deals to raise money and streamline operations to focus on core businesses.