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Taiwan's Hon Hai seals Sharp takeover

Taiwanese tech giant Hon Hai has announced the closing of a "historic deal" to take over struggling Japanese electronics maker Sharp for $3.5 billion (3.1 billion euros). The agreement comes after several delays.

Hon Hai, which owns major Apple supplier Foxconn, is buying a controlling stake of 66 percent,

after weeks of delays

and a deep cut to the original 3.8 billion-euro $(4.1- billion) offer.

Last month, the Taiwanese company put the planned takeover on hold as it assessed new information from Sharp assumed to be related to the Japanese company's significant liabilities.

Hon Hai founder Terry Gou said in a statement he was "thrilled" by the deal, while Sharp's President and CEO Kozo Takahashi spoke of "accelerated innovation" through the merger.

Foxconn Fabrik in Kunshan

Hon Hai owns Foxconn, one of Apple's major suppliers

The two companies' joint statement declared a push towards "restoring profitability and strengthening operations."

The deal to be signed in Osaka on Saturday represents the first foreign acquisition of a major Japanese electronics company.

The beginning of Sharp's turnaround?

Century-old Sharp has hovered over the brink of bankruptcy, incurring massive losses after the 2008 global financial crisis. The soon-to-be Hon Hai-owned company forecasted an operating loss of 1.3 million euros for this fiscal year, revising earlier projections of a small profit.

Although the Japanese government had reportedly been trying to keep Sharp from falling into foreign ownership, analysts said the merger would ultimately be advantageous to the electronics firm.

"For Sharp, this is the first step towards normalization and it will make the company a buy for investors again," said Hideki Yasuda, an analyst at the Ace Research Institute in Tokyo. "This deal proves that Japanese electronics firms are still attractive for foreign rivals."

jd/hg (AFP, dpa)

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