TOKYO:

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

Sharp Corp., the em­bat­tled maker of Aquos flat-screen tele­vi­sions, plans to de­cide be­tween com­pet­ing bailout of­fers this week, peo­ple with knowl­edge of the mat­ter said. The Ja­panese elec­tron­ics com­pany will dis­cuss ri­val bids from state-backed In­no­va­tion Net­work Corp. of Ja­pan and Tai­wan's Fox­conn Tech­nol­ogy Group at a Feb. 4 board meet­ing, ac­cord­ing to the peo­ple. Sharp aims to de­cide on a pre­ferred part­ner at the meet­ing and an­nounce a di­rec­tion for its re­struc­tur­ing plan shortly after­ward, the peo­ple said, ask­ing not to be iden­ti­fied as the in­for­ma­tion is pri­vate.

Fox­conn Chair­man Terry Gou met Sharp's board at their Osaka head­quar­ters Jan. 30 to make his case for a raised bid of about 660 bil­lion yen ($5.4 bil­lion), a per­son fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter has said. Though the Tai­wanese com­pany is of­fer­ing more money, Sharp is lean­ing to­ward a deal with INCJ, which plans to in­vest about 300 bil­lion yen and would keep the com­pany's tech­nol­ogy within Ja­pan, peo­ple fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter said last month. Dis­cus­sions on the com­pet­ing pro­pos­als could drag on, and there's no cer­tainty Sharp will reach a de­ci­sion this week, one per­son said Mon­day. "We are in talks with INCJ and Fox­conn on the re­struc­tur­ing of our LCD busi­ness for our turn­around, but noth­ing has been de­cided," Toy­odo Ue­mura, a spokesman for Sharp, said by phone. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Fox­conn, INCJ and Sharp's ma­jor lenders, Mit­subishi UFJ Fi­nan­cial Group Inc. and Mizuho Fi­nan­cial Group Inc., de­clined to com­ment.

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