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Business

State-backed fund weighs sweeter Sharp bailout offer

TOKYO -- A Japanese public-private fund is considering increasing its proposed investment in Sharp to more than 300 billion yen ($2.54 billion) to beat a rival offer from Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry.

     The Innovation Network Corp. of Japan had earlier proposed providing about 200 billion yen to help the ailing Japanese electronics manufacturer get back on its feet.

     Sharp and its two main lenders -- Mizuho Bank and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ -- will examine the competing proposals from the INCJ and Hon Hai and draw up a rehabilitation plan as early as month's end.

     The INCJ's capital is intended to help Sharp chart a path to growth after spinning off its liquid crystal display business, in which the fund also plans to invest. The investment in Sharp will allow the fund to take control of its management to advance such deals as a possible integration with Toshiba's white goods business. Sharp and some among the main lenders are reportedly in favor of the INCJ's vision that includes a realignment of Japan's electronics industry.

     In response to the fund's initial proposal, Hon Hai has upped its purchase offer to about 700 billion yen from the initial 500 billion yen. Besides Sharp itself, the raised price includes purchases of other assets, such as an Osaka Prefecture plant operated by a Hon Hai-Sharp LCD joint venture.

(Nikkei)

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