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Foxconn Agrees To Acquire Sharp For Reduced Price Of $3.5 Billion

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Taiwanese electronics company Foxconn is set to acquire Sharp Corporation for $3.5 billion after a month of posturing between the two companies that left many observers to wonder if they could ever be able to work out a deal.

The price for the deal is about $900 million less than what Foxconn initially offered to Sharp, but it is enough to give the Tucheng-based company a two-thirds stake in the Japanese electronics giant. It is also considered to be the largest acquisition of a Japanese tech industry leader by a foreign company.

As part of the agreement, Foxconn will gain control of Sharp's display screen technology in order to bolster its pricing power with Apple, one of its major clients.

Sharp has been struggling to make up for operating losses, which have been estimated at about 170 billion yen ($1.5 billion) since the start of the year up until Thursday. This is significantly higher compared to previous estimates of only 10 billion yen ($89 million).

Foxconn said that it will acquire shares from Sharp valued at 88 yen (0.78 cents) per share. This is 35 percent less compared to the shares' close on Wednesday.

The announcement of the deal effectively ends several weeks of drama, which began when Foxconn's planned acquisition appeared like it would not push through.

Foxconn's chairman Terry Gou was poised to seal the deal after Sharp's board decided to take the Taiwanese company's bid over that of its rival, the government-backed Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ).

However, Gou pushed the finalization of the deal until this week in order to negotiate a reduced price after learning of Sharp's liabilities.

"Finally, it's decided," market analyst Hideki Yasuda at the Ace Research Institute in Japan said.

"This is positive for Sharp, although it's hard to imagine that Foxconn won't have to keep providing funds."

Based on the original agreement, Foxconn was supposed to shell out an additional 100 billion yen ($8.9 billion) to purchase preferred stock from Sharp's primary banks. However, this part of the deal was not included in discussions between the two companies in Wednesday's announcements.

According to individuals familiar with the situation, Foxconn would push through with acquiring the stake but it would delay payment.

Sharp spokesman Toyodo Uemura declined to provide any comment on the matter.

Gou has been pursuing Sharp since 2012. He offered to buy shares at the company for 550 yen ($4.89) per share but no deal ever came about from this.

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