UPDATE 1-Japan FTC raids Sharp,Hitachi unit on suspected cartel

Wed Feb 27, 2008 11:20pm EST

(Adds details, background, share prices)

TOKYO Feb 28 (Reuters) - Japan's Fair Trade Commission said it had raided offices at Sharp Corp (6753.T) and Hitachi Displays on suspicion of price-fixing in liquid crystal displays for Nintendo Co Ltd's 7974.OS DS and DS Lite game players.

Hitachi Displays is a wholly owned LCD display unit of Hitachi Ltd (6501.T).

The anti-monopoly watchdog is investigating the two firms over possible rigging of offer prices for LCD panels aimed at holding up sales prices to Nintendo, an FTC official said.

DS handheld gear and the Wii console have been Nintendo's twin growth engines as both machines outsold Sony Corp's (6758.T) competing PlayStation Portable and PlayStation 3.

Both Hitachi and Sharp said the FTC had raided their offices.

Shares in Hitachi were down 2.1 percent at 780 yen while Sharp fell 3.3 percent to 1,973 yen, underperforming the Nikkei average .N225, which was down 0.9 percent. (Reporting by Nathan Layne, Kentaro Hamada, Kiyoshi Takenaka)

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