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Taiwan's Foxconn buys controlling stake in ailing Sharp

Taiwanese tech giant Foxconn has bought control of struggling Japanese electronics firm Sharp for $3.5 billion. The deal is the first foreign takeover of a major Japanese electronics company.

The leaders of the two companies met Saturday in the western Japanese city of Osaka to sign agreements for Apple supplier Foxconn to take a 66-percent controlling stake in Sharp.

Foxconn head Terry Gou told journalists he planned to turn the ailing 104-year-old firm around.

"I see us as a catalyst for change," Gou said. "If we cannot drive change in Sharp, our global competitors will eat us alive."

Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., assembles Apple's iPhones and other products for major brands.

The final sale price of 389 billion yen (3 billion euros; $3.5 billion) is about

20 percent less

than the original amount that Sharp and Foxconn had settled on a month ago. According to reports, the Taiwanese tech giant

put its offer on hold

after it gained new information about Sharp's financial status.

Sharp, a pioneer in LCD technology and a maker of flat-screen televisions and consumer appliances, has increasingly struggled to maintain profits in the face of fierce competition from Korean and Chinese manufacturers.

nm/mkg (AP, dpa, AFP)

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