Sharp says eager to sell stake to Hon Hai soon

OSAKA Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:15am EDT

OSAKA Aug 31 (Reuters) - Sharp Corp wants to conclude a deal that would make Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd its biggest shareholder as soon as possible, its chief financial officer said on Friday, as the Japanese TV maker struggles to overcome losses that have bled it of cash.

"We want to reach agreement quickly," Tetsuo Onishi said at a press briefing in Osaka.

Sharp wants to put the final touches to the pact that could stretch from its TV panels to smaller liquid crystal displays and mobile phones, he said.

Sharp's shares on Friday tumbled almost 13 percent as investor grew more pessimistic about the TV maker's prospects. That mood became more glum after trading closed, when ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded the company's debt to junk, underscoring worry about its ability to pay its debts and revive its business.

Sharp and Hon Hai had been expected to close in on a deal this week, until Hon Hai Chairman Terry Gou's sudden and unexpected departure from Japan on Thursday, rousing investor concern that all was not well.

Gou left for Taiwan after visiting a TV panel plant in western Japan he jointly owns with Sharp.

Onishi in Osaka said that Sharp had been eager to decide on the terms of its partnership with its fellow Apple Inc supplier during Gou's visit.

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