Foxconn Acquisition of Sharp Offers Apple Alternative OLED Supplier

Foxconn’s acquisition of Sharp could help Apple reduce its dependency on Samsung for OLED display panels, analyzed 9to5Mac.

After months of negotiations, Foxconn acquired two thirds of Sharp shares for $3.5 billion this Wednesday, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The concluded deal slashed $2.5 billion from the original offer, due to undisclosed liabilities on Sharp’s end, reported Reuters.

The merger between Foxconn and Sharp is expected to ramp up the Japanese electronics manufacturers OLED display production capacity. Sharp announced it would be spending two thirds of investments from Foxconn on scaling up its OLED production, reported Wall Street Journal.

Apple, who outsources a large chunk of its smartphone assembly and manufacturing to Foxconn, is expected to benefit from the deal as well.

According to 9to5Mac the acquisition will help Apple reduce its reliance on Samsung for OLED display supplies, as the company plans to swap from LCD to OLED displays.

Samsung currently makes up to 95% of the world’s OLED displays, but Apple which has implemented a supply strategy of using multiple supplier to lower component prices might want to have more OLED supply options, according to another Wall Street Journal report.

Foxconn acquisition of Sharp would fulfill this need, since the Japanese company has invested in OLED display technology for a while. Moreover, Sharp is among one of the top three manufacturers that Apple outsources display manufacturing to, the others being Japan Display and LG display.

However, other analysts have been less optimistic about the Foxconn and Sharp’s LCD and OLED display business synergy outlook, questioning whether OLED production scale up could be met in a short time frame.

A Reuters report noted: “there was little assurance the combination will be able to deflect pricing pressure in LCDs or beat rivals in OLED, a new screen technology which Apple is expected to adopt for its iPhones by 2018.”

"If you are talking about two years, it will be difficult. Three years, there is potential. Five years, then definitely,” said Huang.


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