Foxconn has reportedly just bought Sharp for $6.2 billion [Update – not so fast!]

Igor Bonifacic

February 24, 2016 9:49pm

Update – February 25th: Not so fast! According to Bloomberg, Foxconn has now reversed its decision to takeover Sharp because of “new material information.” No other details were revealed, but Foxconn stated it will not finalize the $6.2 billion deal until the situation with the new information is resolved.

Historic electronics maker Sharp has accepted a buyout offer from Foxconn, best known in the west for assembling many of the world’s most popular consumer electronics, including the iPhone, worth approximately $6.2-billion, according Japan’s largest business newspaper, Nikkei.

Should the deal be approved by the Japanese government, Foxconn will become one largest suppliers of smartphone and tablet LCD screens.

Despite the fact it holds lucrative contracts with the likes of smartphone makers like Apple — according to a 2014 article from CNET, Sharp has an entire factory dedicated to supplying Apple with screens for the iPhone — Sharp’s business has been in free fall for a number of years. The company played an integral in developing liquid crystal display technology, but has since been unable to compete against more manufacturing agile upstarts in China and Korea.

Foxconn has reportedly offered to purchase Sharp several times over the past couple of years. In 2012, the Taiwanese company offered to pay 550 yen per share (approximately $6.75 CAD at the current exchange rate). In accepting this latest offer from Foxconn, Sharp rejected a competing offer from a Japanese-backed fund.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Prachatai

  • Mo Dabbas

    they can afford 6.25 billion to buy another company but they can’t afford better salaries and working conditions to their workers. What world are we living in!!

    • Carl Hall

      We should reject buying technology made in these low wage factories, and pay the real cost

    • Can’t Fix Stupid

      Go for it man! So, what phone are you buying again? TV?

    • Mo Dabbas

      I know right. Boycotting those factories is almost impossible (unless one wanna go stone age). However, Foxconn raised some attention due to the suicides and mass suicide protests that happened in the past.

    • Josh Brown

      Did you buy a 1 Gen Moto X?

    • mobilesugar

      I did, still in my pockets as we speak!

    • Ali F.

      The issue is not Foxconn. Foxconn or other manufacturer, will build a device with a cost, say $200 (think of iPhone 5s for example). The device costs another $100 to get to the stores. Why then Apple, or Samsung, or … sell it for $800, or $1000, or etc …If manufacturer should raise wages, without companies raising prices and accept less profit, then we get a balanced consumer/producer formula.

    • blp

      Economically speaking, there is nothing wrong with it. If the workers do not like the working conditions and their salaries, they can always go work somewhere else instead. Truth is, it’s all goes down to supply and demand. Firms will only hire up to the point where the cost = the revenue and workers will only be willing to work to the point where value of working at the firm is = the opportunity cost of working at another firm. when the supply and demand intersect, that is where the wage emerges. If the firm finds itself in a situation where there is a shortage of supply, then the firm will either improve the working condition or the salary. However, this is not the case for Foxconn.

    • h2oflyer

      It all goes down to us overpaid North American buyers who want bling at dollar store prices, oh, and we don’t care about anything that doesn’t satisfy our selfish needs.

    • blp

      Also, increasing the wage rate or the working conditions does not always guarantee that the workers would be better off. The truth is, it’s all depend on the elasticity of the demand. Just cause the wage rate is increased does not mean that income will increase. In the case where the demand is elastic, increasing the wage rate will not only result in a huge lay off but will also result in a decrease in the income of the workers.

    • blp

      As to the answer to your question “What world are we living in”, we are living in a world where most industries are extremely competitive. Just cause Foxconn can afford to buy another company does necessary mean that they can afford to provide better salaries and working conditions to their workers. In the manufacturing industry where competition is high, Foxonn in fact can’t afford to pay their workers more. By paying their workers more, it might face trouble with raising the capital. Just think about it, given the fact that two firms are homogeneous, would you invest in a company that gives you 10% rate of return or 15%.

    • VLAN

      Thanks for the textbook Ecom 101 lesson BLP. Let me give you a real world answer now, it all comes down the greed. We live in a world where if a company makes 1 Billion dollars revenue/profit rather than the 1.1 billion in the previous year stocks tumble, CEO’s put under pressure and the whole world starts talking about it. People commit suicide in these factories, get paid pennies after working insane hours and nobody bats an eye and people rationalize it by saying its supply and demand. (not aiming a dig at you)

      If they were not greedy and willing to settle for a little less every now and then so that someone can live a life with basic needs the world would be a different place. Think Bill Gates.

    • Mo Dabbas

      It’s what VLAN said. When those shareholders react negatively just because things didn’t meet expectations that’s what mainly driving corporates to go that way. Look at apple, they make billions each quarter yet their stocks drop at each fiscal announcement. Why? Not because they didn’t do well. It’s because they didn’t meet the very high expectations of investors.
      As to “there is nothing wrong with it” legally no, I agree with you since the worker (who probably has no other choice between a crappy job or starve to death) is agreeing. And I’m not sure about the labor regulations in China and the minimum wage there (if that exists). But what I dislike is the fact they (on top of all that) are accused of playing with salary numbers. Some organizations say they’re lying about things like increasing salaries and they’re manipulating numbers. If that is true then this is un arguably wrong .

    • Can’t Fix Stupid

      It’s funny watching people on their high horse about how crap all things made in China or Mexico is and then go off the low wages over there. Meanwhile these jobs are lifting millions of people out of abject poverty and so they can finally afford a house and car. Did you ever see how the ‘living wage’ union clowns used to target and treat the Big 3 automakers in North America? Every 2-3 years it was all about who they will target first. It all blew up in their faces and now the Big 3 are happily providing good jobs in Mexico.

    • Mo Dabbas

      They’re putting them (at Foxconn) out of poverty because they are committing suicide in the end.
      read around and you’ll see stories about organizational groups being skeptical even as Foxconn claimed they increased the wages. When there are claims they’re playing with salary numbers that’s when you know something is really wrong.

      I doubt a Foxconn labor can afford a home nor a car. As a matter of fact, I doubt they can even afford the tech they’re assembling themselves.