Ailing electronics giant Sharp could be set to receive a welcome boost to its coffers after reports from Japan revealed chip giants Intel and Qualcomm are considering investments of at least ¥30 billion (£236m) in the firm.
The Osaka-based firm may have been haemorrhaging money in recent years but it is still Japan’s biggest LCD display manufacturer and provides state-of-the-art touchscreen technology for iPads, iPhones, and other high-end mobile devices.
Last month Sharp claimed to have boosted output of its low-power IGZO displays amid rumours that it is looking to persuade ultrabook makers including Lenovo, Dell and HP to choose the tech for the next generation of the ultra-thin laptops.
If those reports are true then it would make sense for Intel to help secure its manufacturing partner's finances.
However, reports conflict over the precise nature of the investment by Qualcomm and Intel.
Reuters, citing two “sources familiar with the matter”, said the US chip giants will “jointly invest” the ¥30bn, with a Qualcomm agreement potentially coming as soon as the end of November. It added that the talks with Intel are less concrete.
However, Japanese news agency Kyodo and the Yomiuri Shimbun claims Sharp and Intel alone are in advanced talks over a ¥30bn investment, with Qualcomm listed as one of a number of other firms the Japanese display maker is chatting to about financial support.
Reports from Japan back in September linked Intel to a similarly sized “capital alliance” with Sharp.
Sharp could certainly do with the money. Reports emerged in September that it is set to slash 11,000 jobs worldwide, halve bonuses and sell off some of its factories in a bid to return to profitability.
It has predicted losses of ¥250bn (£2.1bn) for the year ending March 2013, but managed to secure a ¥360bn (£2.9bn) bailout deal with several Japanese banks.
Intel refused to comment on the news while Qualcomm couldn’t immediately be reached. ®