It’s been almost six months since chip-maker Qualcomm announced a $120 million investment in struggling Japanese tech firm Sharp, but finally the second half of the payment has been confirmed and is due to be completed by June 24.
The deal gives Sharp an important strategic partner and is a significant validation for its business, but it has not gone according to plan thus far. The second half of the payment was originally due before the end of March, but it was delayed after Sharp failed to pass pre-agreed conditions attached to the deal.
Qualcomm will pay the remaining 6 billion yen ($60 million) for 11,868,000 shares which will give it a total stake of 3.53 percent in the 100-year-old company. That will make the US firm Sharp’s third-largest shareholder, and the largest from outside of Japan.
The Sharp-Qualcomm deal was more than a straight-up investment, however. Through the alliance, Qualcomm will work to combine its MEMs display technology with Sharp’s IGZO technology to develop a range of new screens for devices of varying sizes and types.
Sharp estimates that in order to commercialize the MEMs technology it will spend the investment from Qualcomm on general costs (1.2 billion yen — $11 million) and acquiring equipment (4.6 billion yen — $47 million) to develop product lines, production facilities, and make other preparations.
The company has been keen to raise funds after surviving a torrid 2012, in which it made numerous job cuts and saw its credit rating fall to ‘junk’. A major $806 million investment deal with Hon Hai (also known as Foxconn) that was agreed last year fell apart in May, but Qualcomm did land $112 million in new capital as Samsung jumped aboard, buying a 3 percent share in March.
Given the failure of the Hon Hai deal, getting the Qualcomm investment over the line in a timely fashion will be an important focus for Sharp.
Full details of the investment can be found in this Sharp announcement (PDF).
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