Speed Reads

Mergers and acquisitions

Taiwan's Foxconn buying Japanese electronics pioneer Sharp for $3.5 billion

After years of stalled and failed negotiations, the boards of Foxconn Technology Group and Sharp Corp. agreed Wednesday to a majority takeover of Japan's Sharp by Taiwan electronics assembly giant Foxconn. The 103-year-old Sharp makes a wide array of consumer electronics for the Japanese market, but is mostly known outside Japan for its TVs and smartphone displays. It's those displays that reportedly drew the interest of Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou, who wants to move his company up the value chain from low-margin manufacturing at its gigantic factory complex in China.

Foxconn will spend about $3.5 billion for a 66 percent stake in debt-laden Sharp, a drop from the $5.5 billion it was expected to pay as recently as a few weeks ago, before Foxconn discovered $3 billion in potential liabilities. When completed, it will be the largest ever foreign takeover of a Japanese consumer electronics firm.