Foxconn, one of the biggest contract manufacturers in the electronics field, has a number of high-powered clients, like Apple, who may look at them a bit differently with some more capabilities under their belt. Because of this, they have been trying to buy up Sharp, a company out of Japan that manufactures all sorts of electronics, but is best known for their high-quality LCD displays. The buyout consists of Foxconn buying enough shares to grant themselves a two-thirds stake in Sharp, effectively giving them control of Sharp’s operations. While not a full merger, the strategic partnership had every potential to create a monopoly on contract electronics manufacturing in Asia, which is why it was being reviewed by Chinese antitrust authorities and finally got approval to move forward on Thursday.
The deal has been in the works for quite some time, and was originally scheduled to close out back in June. Among other hangups, however, the deal faced hard scrutiny from Chinese officials, and their investigation ran much longer than it was supposed to. Aside from regulatory approval, the deal was completely ready to move forward, which means that since approval is now in place, the rest of the process is unlikely to take all that long. The prolonging of the deal caused a flux in stocks of both companies, with Sharp stocks actually ending up slightly below the mark set for acquisition, which was 88 yen ($0.86) per share, for a short time.
When all is said and done, the $3.8 billion deal is set to have Foxconn assuming near-complete control over Sharp, but the remaining third of open shares will presumably stay open, allowing some input from higher-ups within Sharp, as well as shareholders. For the time being, there has been no announcement of any plan for either company to make any major changes to their operations or for the two to merge; for now, the plan is simply for Foxconn to own Sharp part and parcel, and to have a very large vote in any business decisions that they may engage in in the future. With the deal having been dragged out by authorities, Foxconn was unable to say exactly when it would all go down, only saying that they would like to seal the deal “as soon as possible”.