Samsung offers to buy Sharp printer unit, bid rejected

In return for investment, Samsung offered to take a unit off Sharp's hands to no avail.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

Sharp may be ailing, but it's not willing to give up everything for the sake of third-party investment.

The Japanese television set maker has had a tough time of it recently. Fierce competition, a strong yen and tepid consumer interest have all combined and, as a result, the tech firm is struggling to keep afloat. Known for its liquid-crystal displays (LCD) and television sets, Sharp reported a Q2 operating loss of ¥74.8 billion ($936m), a steep drop from ¥30.1 billion ($376m) profit in the same time period last year.

In addition, a charge worth $1.1 billion was included for restructuring efforts, and a number of properties the Japanese firm owns have been mortgaged to try and balance the books.

The financial mire has resulted in Sharp not only mulling over severe job cuts, but also seeking financial help from other firms. Earlier this month, we reported that South Korean firm Samsung has agreed to invest 10.4bn yen ($112m) for a three percent stake in the television set maker, in order to bolster the production of certain lines that affect Samsung products.

credit: Sharp

The investment is centered around Sharp's LCD display business, which Samsung needs to be able to protect as different screen size production caters for the changing taste of Western consumers, whether it be the wide range of smartphones now available or the rising popularity of tablets.

Samsung's investment, announced last week, will let Sharp introduce "new technology for LCDs with high-definition features" while keeping the company afloat a little longer.

However, according to Reuters, part of the deal originally held the mandate that Samsung would buy the company's printer and copier unit in return for the investment. The unit, which produces photocopiers, printers and fax machines for businesses, will remain in Sharp's hands, although it is unclear why the company refused.

According to the publication, Sharp spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama said that "We did get a proposal from Samsung, but we declined," although she would not say how much was offered or whether the refusal was due to the impact it would have on the Japanese firm's cashflow.

The agreement reached between Sharp and Samsung is similar to that between the television set maker and Qualcomm. The two companies announced in December that they have reached a partnership which includes U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm investing up to $120 million in order to jointly develop display panels.

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