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Difficulties slow Hon Hai-Sharp talks: report

TAIPEI -- Talks on a capital tie-up between Japan's Sharp Corp. and Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. are ongoing, but there are still difficulties to overcome, Kyodo News reported Friday.

Citing comments made by Sharp President Takashi Okuda at a Tokyo press conference a day earlier, Kyodo News reported that the Japanese company is continuing talks with its Taiwanese partner Hon Hai.

However, the news agency quoted Okuda as conceding there are difficulties in the negotiation process as Sharp's stock price has plummeted since the two reached an accord in March.

Hon Hai declined to comment on the progress of the talks on Friday.

The Kyodo News report came on the heels of another report it made in late October that Sharp has entered into talks with Apple Inc., Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp. on forming alliances for its advanced liquid crystal display panels.

Sharp has also sounded out Hewlett-Packard Co. about investing in the Japanese electronics maker after its business performance picks up, the agency reported.

Hon Hai announced in late March its acquisition of a roughly 10-percent stake in Sharp for US$800 million, which made it the Japanese company's largest shareholder.

Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou also agreed to acquire a 46.5-percent stake under his own name in Sharp's Sakai-based 10th-generation LCD panel plant for an additional US$800 million.

Gou said in August that the two companies are renegotiating the deal following the slump in Sharp's stock price and he hopes to finalize it by March 31, 2013.

Meanwhile, the two companies continue to cooperate to jointly tap China's smartphone market. Foxconn International Holdings, Hon Hai's subsidiary, and Sharp launched handsets in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan in late August.

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