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Sharp looks for tie-ups with Apple, Google, Microsoft

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Sharp looks for tie-ups with Apple, Google, Microsoft
Sharp Corp. shares jumped Tuesday on a report that the embattled Japanese electronics maker is in talks with US tech giants Apple, Google, and Microsoft on forming business and capital tie-ups.

The maker of Aquos-brand products surged as much as 7.4 percent to 175 yen in early Tokyo trade before easing slightly to 172 yen, or 6.2 percent higher, in the early afternoon.

Sharp was talking to the US firms about supplying them with small and medium-sized power-saving liquid crystal display panels for laptops, tablet computers and smartphones, Kyodo news agency said.

Sharp has also asked iPhone-maker Apple, chip giant Intel, Google, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard about injecting fresh funds into the struggling firm, which has suffered massive losses, the report said.

However, a Sharp spokeswoman told AFP that the firm "is not in talks with these companies over a possible capital tie-up".

"We decline to comment on individual talks over business tie-ups," she added.

An expected capital injection from Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision, which makes Apple gadgets in China, has stalled, with Intel recently emerging as a possible partner for the Japanese firm.

Sharp's share price plunged to four-decade lows in August when it reported a quarterly loss of about $1.76 billion, prompting Standard & Poor's to cut its credit rating to junk status.

The Osaka-based company has struggled amid fierce overseas competition and a strong yen, with the bigger-than-expected loss tied largely to writedowns of its LCD panel inventories caused by weak demand and heavy restructuring costs.

Sharp has said it would slash 5,000 jobs worldwide, with later reports saying it would shed 19 percent of its 57,000-strong global workforce, by the end of March 2014.

The firm has also announced wage cuts for thousands of employees from the factory floor to the executive boardroom and the sale of real-estate to shore up its bleeding balance sheet.

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