Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs has returned Hon Hai's application to buy a 10 percent stake in ailing Japanese electronics giant Sharp, saying insufficient information was given about the investment efficiency of the deal.
In a Reuters report Thursday, Emile Chang, deputy executive secretary of the ministry's investment commission, said: "We think Hon Hai has not explained enough about the investment efficiency of the deal, which is related to price...the deal is a little pricey."
The commission oversees all outgoing investment and Hon Hai Precision Industry--also known by its trading name Foxconn--needs its approval before it can invest in Sharp.
Earlier this week, Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou said the company "still wants" to invest in Sharp even after it announced a major restructuring involving 5,000 job cuts and widened its loss forecast--which would lower the value of the proposed stake. It had agreed in March to buy a 10 percent stake in Sharp for over US$800 million and become Sharp's largest shareholder.
Taiwan's investment commission, which reviews all mergers and acquisitions involving foreign companies, has stopped deals in the past. Last year, it blocked a US$1.6 billion management buyout of electronics component company Yageo led by private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), Reuters noted.
A separate report by Bloomberg BusinessWeek Thursday said Hon Hai plans to resubmit its application to the commission. "We will reflect on the regulator's concerns, re-evaluate and then resubmit after we've made a joint announcement with Sharp about the transaction," said Hon Hai spokesperson, Simon Hsing.
The ministry's Chang also added that returning Hon Hai's original application was not a rejection by the commission. "We asked them to provide more information on the expected returns on investment and other financial information," he said.