Sharp Stock Gets Boost after Report that Intel, Qualcomm May Invest $378M

By Ed Silverstein November 14, 2012

Sharp got a boost in market trading this week after word that Intel and Qualcomm may invest $378 million in the company, news reports said.

Sharp shares increased some 11 percent after the news broke, according to media reports. There was an earlier report that the two companies could even invest up to $500 million in Sharp, CNET said.

The report led investors to believe that an investment by one or two of the companies would improve Sharp's finances. Sharp has been burdened with debt.

In addition to the company alliances, Sharp may see some encouragement with new demand for its products in upscale laptops, Reuters said. Sharp displays are already used in iPads and iPhones, Reuters adds. In addition, Intel is apparently interested in Sharp's IGZO displays for its "Ultrabook" laptops with touchscreens.

It is possible that Sharp and Qualcomm could come up with an agreement by the end of November, while an agreement with Intel may take longer, sources told Reuters. Sharp is also having closed-door discussions with Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co.

Even with the stock price heading up, there are more long-term challenges at the company.

"Sharp has talked about cutting debt and inventory, but they haven't made it clear how they plan to generate cash flow and strengthen their capital base," Toshiyuki Kanayama, an analyst at Monex, told Reuters.

Earlier this month, Sharp almost doubled its full-year, net loss projection to $5.6 billion. That will lead to “seriously negative operating cash flow,” the company said. "This raises serious doubts about (our ability) to continue as a going concern."

Among the solutions being used to address the shortfalls, Sharp is trying to make alliances with other companies, lower pay for some employees, selling off assets and promoting early retirements of workers.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

TechZone360 Contributor

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