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Qualcomm, Intel consider $375M investment in Sharp

Qualcomm and/or Intel may be aiming to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in struggling display maker Sharp.


Qualcomm and Intel are in discussions with Sharp to invest more than $375 million, according to two reports.

Japan's Kyodo News reported today that Intel is in talks to invest between 30 billion and 40 billion yen (approximately $378 million to $500 million) in Sharp.

But a more recent report today from Reuters said the two companies may make a joint investment of about $378 million.

However, the Reuters report goes to describe the Intel investment as less certain than Qualcomm's commitment. The latter may reach an agreement with Sharp as early as the end of this month.

Sharp, Japan's largest LCD maker, is in dire financial straits and fighting for its life. It recently received a loan guarantee of $360 billion yen from two Japanese banks with the aim of keeping the company afloat through March 2014.

Some of Sharp's most valuable assets are its low-temperature polysilicon (LTPS) and IGZO display technologies. Both allow thin smartphone and tablet designs with very high resolution screens.

In October, Sharp announced the start of production of one of the highest pixel density screens to date. The 5-inch screen boats a resolution of 1,080x1,920 pixels, yielding a pixel density of 443 pixels per inch.

By comparison, Apple's iPhone 5 has a pixel density of 326 pixels per inch.

Intel has set aside an ultrabook fund to secure supply of ultrabook-related components, such as touch-screens. Qualcomm, for its part, has made substantial investments in display technology in the past.

When contacted, Intel, Qualcomm, and Sharp did not comment.