Now under Hon Hai, Sharp may buy back TV assets: report

Sharp Corp. is likely to buy back its TV assets in the United States and Europe now that its takeover by Taiwan-based manufacturing giant Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. (??) has been completed, the Yomiuri Shimbun reported Tuesday.

The report said that following the acquisition, Sharp is considering the possibility of buying back its TV business in the U.S. and Europe and will send a delegation to the two regions in September to negotiate the potential deals.

The report echoed an earlier comment made by Hon Hai executive Tai Cheng-wu (???), who took over as president of Sharp after the acquisition was finalized.

Tai said he wanted to buy back the assets the struggling Japanese electronics manufacturer disposed of in the U.S. and Europe to help Sharp re-establish its brand in the two markets and regain lost market share.

Hon Hai completed the deal to buy a 66 percent stake in Sharp for US$3.5 billion on Aug. 12, and Tai took over as president from predecessor Kozo Takahashi after the board of directors approved the appointment on Aug. 13.

In 2014, Sharp sold its TV assets in Europe to Slovakia-based TV maker Universal Media Corp., and in January 2016, Sharp sold its TV assets in the United States to China's home appliance brand Hisense (??).

In both cases, Sharp licensed its TV brand Aquos to the two foreign buyers to use.

Japanese media reported over the weekend, meanwhile, that Tai issued an internal notice to Sharp's employees saying that the company has decided to cancel a previously instituted pay cut to boost the morale of the company's employees.

The notice was issued after a meeting attended by Tai and top Sharp executives on Aug. 21 and 22 in Japan to set the company's operational strategies.

Tai said separately that he has decided to forgo his compensation as a member of Sharp's board of directors.

In August 2015, Sharp implemented the pay cut program to deal with its financial woes. Base-level workers took 2 percent pay cuts and managers 5 percent pay cuts under the cost-cutting program, but Sharp will return the previous wage cuts to employees as a cash subsidy.

Tai said the elimination of the pay cut program will take effect in September and will be replaced by a sound performance evaluation mechanism, which is expected to encourage its employees to work harder.

He would not rule out, however, the possibility of lay-offs in the future to restructure the business if the company's operations failed to improve.

Tai said Hon Hai has vowed to lend its full support to Sharp in product planning, development and marketing, and will do its best to help the subsidiary integrate its manufacturing resources.

Source: Focus Taiwan