JAPANESE DISPLAY MAKER Sharp is in talks with Dell and Intel over significant cash investments in the firm.
Sharp's future has been thrown into doubt by the firm's own management and it is desperately looking for investors to help it stay afloat. The firm reportedly is in talks with Dell and Intel about investments totalling $480m, while Qualcomm is in the mix for a smaller investment.
Dell and Intel are likely to negotiate early and guaranteed access to Sharp's next generation IGZO displays, which are expected to bring performance and power efficiency improvements. Sharp is banking heavily on IGZO to turn its fortunes around, but at present Sharp is finding it hard to increase yields and reduce prices to pick up new customers.
While Dell and Intel are being touted as the two major investors, the Wall Street Journal reports that Sharp is in discussions with Qualcomm over a smaller investment. According to the WSJ's sources the deal might be in the form of equity in Sharp or paying off some of its debt, which was recently downgraded to 'junk' status.
Sharp already held talks with Hon Hai earlier this year, however its president asked for a seat on Sharp's board, something the firm was not keen to give. Dell's interest in Sharp could be for its computer business and should it finally get serious about smartphones and tablets. However for Intel the only direct link-up would be to push the firm's displays as part of its 'ultrabook' specification. µ