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Sharp and Apple's main manufacturing partner, Foxconn, have reportedly agreed to extend the deadline for takeover talks by another one to two weeks, following the latter's discovery of undisclosed Sharp liabilities.
Those liabilities amount to about 300 billion yen, or $2.7 billion, Reuters said on Friday, citing anonymous sources. Publicly, Foxconn hasn't mentioned a new deadline, only acknowledging that it will delay signing a deal until it can clarify "new material information."
The company said it received the information on Wednesday morning local time — a day before a Sharp board meeting — and complained that the material "had not been previously proposed nor offered during negotiations between the two sides."
Assuming a deal goes through, acquiring Sharp could be a major win for Foxconn in its relationship with Apple. That would allow it to sell displays as well as manufacturing services, and potentially demand better pricing, since Apple often pits suppliers against each other for orders. Nevertheless, Apple might benefit by being able to distance itself from chief rival Samsung, which also produces displays.
There's no sign so far that Foxconn's original competitor for the Sharp bid, Innovation Network Corp., might step back in. Innovation is a fund backed by the Japanese state, and would likely fold Sharp's display unit into Japan Display, yet another Apple supplier.