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June 27, 2017

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No Hon Hai response on revised deal: Sharp

TAIPEI--Hon Hai Group, the world's largest contract electronics maker, has not yet responded to revised terms proposed by Japan-based Sharp Corp. in an acquisition deal, Japanese media reported Sunday.

Sharp has offered to revise the price of the holding but the 9.9-percent stake offer remains unchanged, the reports said.

Sharp is offering the stake at a new price based on its stock's recent average market price, Sharp President Takashi Okuda was cited as saying in an interview with Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

In March, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. — the group's flagship firm — and three of its affiliates agreed to acquire a 9.9-percent stake in Sharp at a cost of 67 billion yen, or 550 yen per share.

Since the deal was announced, however, shares of Sharp have tumbled about 70 percent and hit a low of 164 yen on Aug. 15.

As a result, Hon Hai and Sharp started fresh negotiations on the terms of the deal, including the acquisition price, but a conclusion has not yet been reached.

In the interview, Okuda said he had not received a response from the Taiwanese company regarding Sharp's new proposal.

For Hon Hai Precision Chairman Terry Gou, Okuda said, the most important thing is how to expand business around the world rather than the acquisition price, stake ratio or other technical details of the deal.

"Gou seemed to be more keen to make contributions to Sharp's sales outlook than to deal with the price issue," Okuda said.

The negotiations are about 50-percent complete and Sharp hopes they will be concluded as soon as possible, Okuda said.

Commenting on Gou's no show at a press conference in Osaka last Thursday, Okuda said they were planning to make a joint announcement on the acquisition deal after a meeting in the morning but the meeting did not take place as planned.

Gou flew back to Taipei the same day he was scheduled to attend the press conference.

Okuda said he will be willing to meet with Gou in Taipei to finalize the agreement.

During his recent visit to Japan, Gou said the key to the Hon Hai-Sharp deal was not the price but how the two companies could work together to create a win-win situation.

He said he hoped the media and industry would focus on his company's efforts to improve Sharp's product development, cost reduction and global supply management.

Gou was in Japan as a member of a Taiwanese delegation of businessmen, politicians and bureaucrats, led by former Vice President Vincent Siew, who were on a mission to boost bilateral cooperation.

Calls to Hon Hai's headquarters in Taipei on Sunday for a response to Okuda's comments were not answered.

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