updated 04:35 pm EDT, Thu July 30, 2009
Sharp, Sony in LCD venture
Sharp and Sony on Thursday announced they have entered into a joint venture agreement related to the production and sales of large LCD panels and modules. Sharp's under-construction LCD production plant in Sakai City, Japan was transferred to Sharp Display Products Corporation (SDP) on July 1st, with opening scheduled for October. On December 29th, Sony will invest 10 billion yen ($105 million) into SDP for shares, which will be the first step towards reaching the final 66% Sharp, 34% percent Sony split. This initial investment will make SDP a joint venture company of Sony as well as Sharp.
The target date for the final deal is March 10th, with Sony responsible for 34% of the joint venture plant's total $4 billion cost. Sony will get a portion of the LCDs produced at Sharp's Osaka plant and another one in Southern Japan. The new plant will mainly produce 32-inch LCD screens.
Sony currently sources its LCD panels from Taiwan-based AU Optronics and a joint venture it has established with Samsung. At the same time, Sharp has been linked to Pioneer and merging with its Blu-ray business at the start of October. Sharp is also negotiating with Toshiba to increase production of solar panels.