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Samsung Makes a $111.5M Investment in Sharp

By - Source: Reuters | B 10 comments

Samsung simply doesn't want Apple to exclusively use Sharp and its IGZO technology.

On Wednesday Samsung said that it will invest 10.4 billion yen, or $111.5 million USD, in LCD panel manufacturer Sharp. The company said that the investment, which gives Samsung a 3-percent stake in the Osaka-based company, will not only help strengthen Sharp's LCD panel business, but secure a supply of large LCD panels for Samsung.

"Sharp has been currently supplying Samsung Electronics with LCD panels, "Sharp said on Wednesday. "Through this Capital Alliance, Sharp is going to further strengthen the alliance and continuously provide a long-term, stable and timely supply of LCD panels for large size TVs and small- and medium-size LCD panels for mobile devices such as notebook computers. This Capital Alliance will enable Sharp to secure its source of revenue from LCD business forming the company's core."

Between April 2013 and March 2015, Sharp plans to spend 6,900 million yen to introduce new technology for LCDs with high-definition features. An additional 3,234 million yen will also be invested during that timeframe including the "rationalization of manufacturing facilities for LCDs used in mobile devices such as tablet terminals and notebook computers with high-definition features."

Samsung's investment follows one made by chipmaker Qualcomm back in December who agreed to sink as much as $120 million USD in Sharp as part of a joint development of next-generation MEMS displays. The resulting product is described as "a display using ultrafine process technology and existing display manufacturing infrastructure with features including high color reproducibility and low-power consumption." It will consist of Sharp's IGZO tech and Qualcomm subsidiary Pixtronix's MEMS display tech.

The two recent deals with Qualcomm and Samsung have thrown the display maker a lifeline as it struggles to stay afloat while South Korean and Chinese TV manufacturers continue to pound Japanese manufacturers like Sharp, Sony Corp and Panasonic Corp in overseas markets. Reports in November even said Sharp faced possible bankruptcy thanks to huge losses and crushed profits.

But one analyst claims that Apple bailed out the struggling display manufacturer – pushing over $2 billion USD in the last quarter alone -- because Sharp is a key supplier of screens for the iPhone and other iDevices, and like Samsung, wants a secured supply. Another analyst currently believes that Samsung made its recent investment so that Apple doesn't have exclusive access to Sharp.

Currently Sharp's biggest push is its high-resolution indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) screens which are thinner than conventional LCDs, require less backlighting, and consume only a tenth of battery power. That's because the tech allows the screen to display a static image without needing to constantly refresh, a factor that drains battery power in typical LCD displays.

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  • 10 Hide
    ikyung , March 6, 2013 7:03 PM
    jupiter optimus maximusWhy does Samsung want to invest in a competitor of LCD panels, when Samsung makes their own LCD panels?

    Because, with a projected sale of 500 million smartphones in just one year, Samsung doesn't have enough manufacturing lines to make display panels for all their smartphones, tablets, laptops, monitors, TV, and other smart devices like smart fridge, washer/dryers, etc. I believe Samsung uses 3 companies for their display panels which are 1) Their own 2) LG 3) Sharp

    Also, they probably are contracted for 3, 5 ,10 year to pump out displays for other companies such as Sony, Panasonic, etc. So until the contract is over, they have to use a certain % of their production line to pump out displays for other companies.
Other Comments
  • -4 Hide
    house70 , March 6, 2013 6:16 PM
    "But one analyst claims that Apple bailed out the struggling display manufacturer – pushing over $2 billion USD in the last quarter alone -- because Sharp is a key supplier of screens for the iPhone and other iDevices, and like Samsung, wants a secured supply. Another analyst currently believes that Samsung made its recent investment so that Apple doesn't have exclusive access to Sharp."

    So, these are just some analyst's speculations, not confirmed facts from Samsung. Yet, they made the title of the article.

    "Reporting" news with a bait title should be exclusive to tabloids.
  • 2 Hide
    master9716 , March 6, 2013 6:25 PM
    WOW! I like sharp , Their 70's tvs when calibrated do an amazing job,
  • -4 Hide
    internetlad , March 6, 2013 6:34 PM
    house70"But one analyst claims that Apple bailed out the struggling display manufacturer – pushing over $2 billion USD in the last quarter alone -- because Sharp is a key supplier of screens for the iPhone and other iDevices, and like Samsung, wants a secured supply. Another analyst currently believes that Samsung made its recent investment so that Apple doesn't have exclusive access to Sharp."So, these are just some analyst's speculations, not confirmed facts from Samsung. Yet, they made the title of the article."Reporting" news with a bait title should be exclusive to tabloids.


    What did you expect from Kevin Parrish? I'm surprised the article is even readable, without random memes and the word "Nuke" shoehorned in every second sentence. About as far from real journalism as you can get.
  • -2 Hide
    falchard , March 6, 2013 6:55 PM
    The only reason I can see Samsung wanting Sharp LCD panels is so they can stand them in the shape of a toilet so they can show how much crap their competition is. Why would a panel maker like Samsung need to secure panels from Sharp?
  • 0 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , March 6, 2013 6:57 PM
    Why does Samsung want to invest in a competitor of LCD panels, when Samsung makes their own LCD panels?
  • 0 Hide
    ikyung , March 6, 2013 6:58 PM
    Nice. I would definitely not want to see Sharp going bankrupt especially since they are one of the few remaining that can still compete against LG displays. If I'm not mistaken, LG currently makes around 70% of every display and are getting closer to monopolizing the entire display market.
  • 10 Hide
    ikyung , March 6, 2013 7:03 PM
    jupiter optimus maximusWhy does Samsung want to invest in a competitor of LCD panels, when Samsung makes their own LCD panels?

    Because, with a projected sale of 500 million smartphones in just one year, Samsung doesn't have enough manufacturing lines to make display panels for all their smartphones, tablets, laptops, monitors, TV, and other smart devices like smart fridge, washer/dryers, etc. I believe Samsung uses 3 companies for their display panels which are 1) Their own 2) LG 3) Sharp

    Also, they probably are contracted for 3, 5 ,10 year to pump out displays for other companies such as Sony, Panasonic, etc. So until the contract is over, they have to use a certain % of their production line to pump out displays for other companies.
  • -1 Hide
    tobalaz , March 6, 2013 11:01 PM
    You ever see a Sharp Aquos with quattron tech running at 120hz?
    Absolutely beautiful picture, the added yellow makes one heck of a difference.
    I'm sure the investment will include a cross platform license for Samsung to add in quattron to their current lines to their lines of tvs, and possibly even smart phone screens and tablets as well, which would be a HUGE leg up over Apple's "retina" displays on their tablets and phones, so if you viewed the products running the same video/ apps side by side Samsung would clearly have the better picture and would definitely be a strong selling point.
    Good move by Samsung, its smart and opens quite a few strong options to improve themselves and block a competitor as well from getting a hold of tech that could make or break a run at the true #1 spot for smart phones and tablets, AND they might be able to throw a wrench into Apple's possible plans for a high quality iTV.

  • 1 Hide
    echondo , March 7, 2013 4:53 AM
    ikyungBecause, with a projected sale of 500 million smartphones in just one year, Samsung doesn't have enough manufacturing lines to make display panels for all their smartphones, tablets, laptops, monitors, TV, and other smart devices like smart fridge, washer/dryers, etc. I believe Samsung uses 3 companies for their display panels which are 1) Their own 2) LG 3) SharpAlso, they probably are contracted for 3, 5 ,10 year to pump out displays for other companies such as Sony, Panasonic, etc. So until the contract is over, they have to use a certain % of their production line to pump out displays for other companies.


    Couldn't have said it any better myself.

    A lot of display manufacturers, even Samsung, do not always create their whole LCD in house. If you take apart your monitor/TV I bet there is a completely different brand under the housing. My Dell U2312HM is really a LG panel(and I love it), but I didn't know that until I read a thorough review about it and the reviewer took the panel apart.
  • 0 Hide
    natoco , March 7, 2013 4:55 AM
    Good for both companys, not long ago i heard samsung sell a tv every 3 sec worldwide, and i thought 'wow thats a lot' let alone all the other panel markets they make for. Sounds like they need every screen they can get there hands on just to fill the volume rather than to try and steal screen tech secrets.