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Business deals

Sharp president confident Toshiba PC unit purchase will soon pay off

Hundreds of engineers gained in deal should provide valuable synergies, says Tai Jeng-wu

Sharp's president aims to bring Toshiba's PC business into the black "within one to two years."   © Reuters

OSAKA -- Sharp has decided to buy Toshiba's money-losing personal computer business for an estimated 4 billion yen ($36 million). In an interview with Nikkei Wednesday, Sharp President Tai Jeng-wu, sent by its Taiwanese parent Hon Hai Precision Industry, or Foxconn, showed confidence that he can make the PC business profitable.

"We seek to turn the business into the black within one or two years, so that our investment will pay off," Tai said.

Toshiba Client Solutions, the PC unit wholly owned by Toshiba, posted 9.6 billion yen in operating losses for the year ended March. "For fiscal 2018 through 2019, we will focus on expanding its domestic operations," Tai said. Toshiba's Dynabook is a popular laptop computer brand in Japan. Sharp will initially seek to leverage the status to improve the unit's profit structure.

"At this moment, we can only examine the business from outside, but I'm feeling that the same method we took for Sharp would work to improve profitability of the PC business," said the Sharp president.

The acquisition, planned to be completed by October, includes about 400 engineers working at the Toshiba unit, and Tai seems to highly evaluate these specialists.

"I expect synergies between these talent and Sharp's artificial intelligence and internet of things specialists, which will be more important to us than acquiring the business itself."

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