iPhone manufacturer Foxconn has posted a $5.3 billion bid to buy Sharp, the Japanese display manufacturer who has faced financial difficulties in recent years. iPhone displays are currently manufactured by Sharp, Samsung and LG and assembled at Foxconn’s plant. A successful Sharp purchase puts Foxconn in the position to make iPhone display components, going beyond assembly.
Another possibility is that Foxconn will start producing its own branded electronics products, although competition with Apple is unlikely given their relationship. Foxconn is certainly being aggressive with its offer.
Foxconn has promised to retain current Sharp management, in an effort to woo skeptics of foreign takeover. It is also willing to take on Sharp’s debts to secure the deal. Outlook for iPhone is unclear however, as rumors continue to suggest Apple will adopt OLED screen technology in the next couple of years. Apple is not expected to use OLED in the iPhone 7, with most rumors pointing to 2017 and 2018 time periods. The capacity for Sharp to make OLED panels is unknown.