Hon Hai boss says Sharp deal is ‘definitely not off’


TAIPEI — The head of Taiwan’s Hon Hai group insisted Thursday that a planned investment with Sharp “is definitely not off” after the Japanese firm said the deadline for a deal had lapsed without any pact. “It’s definitely not off … (we’ll) definitely work together,” Terry Gou told Taiwanese reporters during a visit to China when asked to comment on the state of the proposed tie-up. “We have banks approaching us. The question is not about funding but it’s about who can help (Sharp) collaborate with the banks, help it run the company well,” he said in footage aired by Taiwan’s TVBS cable news channel.

Under the proposed tie-up Sharp was to sell 121 million new shares — about 550 yen apiece — worth 66.9 billion yen (US$710 million), while Hon Hai would also take half of the Japanese firm’s 93-percent interest in a huge liquid crystal display plant in western Japan. But the deal stalled as Sharp’s share price nosedived after it released a dire earnings report. On Tuesday Sharp said the time was up for a deal to be hammered out, adding that it would seek out other funding sources to help repair its hard-hit balance sheet. But hours later, Hon Hai, which makes Apple gadgets in China, said the proposal was still alive and the deadline was not up until March 2015. Sharp’s statement on Tuesday said the pact with Hon Hai had faltered because it could not win approval from “relevant authorities.” However, Taiwan’s investment commission said regulators were still reviewing the case. Last year, Taiwanese regulators returned Hon Hai’s application over the deal, asking for more information about the pact and saying they feared the sale price was too high. Sharp’s shares ended at 3.6 percent lower at 268 yen in Tokyo Thursday, while Hong Hai was down 0.96 percent at NT$82.7 in Taipei.