Sony ends LCD joint venture with Sharp, recoups its $125.79 million investment

Sony ends LCD joint venture with Sharp, recoups its $125.79 million investment

Sony and Sharp have announced that their joint venture to develop large LCD panels is to end, with Sony getting back its full $125.79 million investment in the Sharp Display Products Corporation (SDP) as part of the deal.

The Japanese entertainment giant is selling its 7.04 percent share in SDP, which is a subsidiary of Sharp, back to the company and it will be out of the relationship by the end of June, the company says.

A statement from the duo cites “the rapidly changing market” as the reason for the move:

In March 2012 Sharp and Sony agreed to amend the original joint venture agreement to provide that Sony would not make additional capital injections in SDP. Based on this amendment, the companies agreed to study the future direction of the joint venture and other potential business relationships between the parties, including with respect to Sony’s interest in SDP.

With Kazuo Hirai now heading up Sony, and Sharp itself now developing LCDs in partnership with Foxconn parent Hon Hai, there had been some uncertainty around the venture.

Sharp has been particularly keen to bolster its position to increase its competitiveness and reduce its dependency on other suppliers.

Rival Samsung has already been making moves of its own in the space, having spun off its LCD business to create Samsung Display at the start of April. That move created the world’s biggest display manufacturer overnight and is likely to have pressed Sharp and others into consolidating their positions.

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