Several sources said on Friday, Nikkei reports that Japan Display (JDI) is in talks with Apple and Sharp to sell an LCD panel factory in Ishikawa Prefecture. The plant is one of the largest JDI factories. Apple also took part in its construction and equipment, paying almost half the cost of building the plant – about 170 billion yen. The company was supposed to become the main supplier of LCD panels for Apple smartphones, but something went wrong.
In the latest and most promising smartphones, Apple has abandoned LCD-screens and switched to the use of OLED screens. In the long run, the JDI factory planned to start producing OLED, but this could only happen in a year or two. Due to Apple’s rejection of LCD screens, the plant was shut down in July this year. But the problems with financing unprofitable production began much earlier.
In the winter and spring of this year, the company tried to agree on significant investments from Chinese funds and manufacturers. In the summer, the Chinese decided to cancel all previous agreements and left Japan Display with nothing. In mid-December, it became known that the company was in the final stages of negotiations with a potential buyer of equipment at the plant for about $ 200 million. It is assumed that this mysterious buyer is Apple.
Recent news around the deal with Apple or with Sharp hinted at a more serious agreement that would give the buyer ownership of not only production equipment, but also the workshop and the land on which they are built. Accordingly, the amount of the transaction promises to increase to $ 730–820 million. Apple and Sharp may jointly own this property, but the dispute, allegedly because of the size of each of them in this transaction, is still ongoing.