Intel May Purchase Stake in Sharp for IGZO Laptop Displays

Unnamed sources are claiming that Sharp is currently striking a business alliance with Intel to provide LCD panels for Ultrabooks.

Sharp, which is currently in the middle of ironing out a restructuring plan to secure financial support from lenders, is reportedly asking for more than 30 billion yen ($383 million) from the chip giant. There's also a possibility that Intel may actually acquire a stake in the display manufacturer some time in the near future.

Upon the news of a possible deal with Intel, shares of Sharp rose 5-percent to 212 yen of Friday. Prior to the Intel news, the company was in talks to sell a 9.9-percent stake to fellow Apple supplier Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. However insiders claim the negotiations were put on hold while the latter company sought out a say in Sharp's management in return for the investment.

Sharp is slated to complete its revival plan within the next few days to present to banks. The company currently has up to 360 billion yen of short-term commercial loans to repay, making Sharp somewhat desperate for immediate cash. Right now the company is relying on banks Mizuho Financial Group and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group for funding.

But once the revival plan is presented, the banks will then decide if they will provide about 200 billion yen in additional loans, sources claim. This plan includes the sale of its U.S. solar power unit Recurrent Energy which was purchased back in 2010.

With its TV sales on the decline, Sharp is now focusing on its smaller displays to make up for the revenue loss. Sources claim that instead of securing itself even deeper within Apple's supply chain, the company sees the next-generation wave of Ultrabooks to be the perfect market for its most advanced displays, including the IGZO display.

And the infatuation isn't just a one-way street either: Intel has its eyes on Sharp as well, attracted to the company's small and midsized LCD panels. The super high-definition IGZO display will be ideal for the Ultrabook form factor, as it consumes less power than conventional LCDs, it's thinner and requires less backlighting. Even more, it has a highly-sensitive touchscreen, perfect for Windows 8, according to Sharp's chief financial officer, Tetsuo Onishi.

So far Sharp has not released an official statement. Reuters said an Intel spokesman declined to comment on the report.


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