updated 04:25 pm EDT, Fri July 11, 2014
Firm looks to become more independent
Sharp is offering Apple 30 billion yen, or about $293 million, to buy the equipment in the former's Kameyama Plant No. 1, says Nikkei. In 2012, Apple contributed about half of the 100 billion yen ($986.7 million) that was necessary to switch the factory from producing TV panels to iPhone displays. As a part of the deal, Apple claimed ownership of the plant's hardware.
The aim in buying back the equipment is reportedly to diversify Sharp's customer base, for instance targeting Chinese smartphone makers as well. Apple is said to be insisting that Sharp not supply any panels to South Korea's Samsung, which produces a number of devices competing with the iPhone.
Kameyama is currently said to be operating at 90 percent capacity as it churns out displays for the iPhone 6. That may give Sharp some leverage in negotiations, since any slowdown could hurt the number of units Apple has ready for launch this fall, and subsequently the company's vital holiday sales.