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Industry Shake-Up Yields Toshiba, Sharp Alliance

21 Dec, 2007 By: John Latchem

Toshiba Corp. will buy large liquid crystal displays from Sharp Corp. as part of an alliance to realign the flat-panel TV industry, according to Reuters.

The pact calls for Toshiba to purchase LCD panels from a $3.4 billion factory being built by Sharp in western Japan to use them in TVs larger than 32 inches and sold under its own brand. Sharp, in turn, will buy semiconductors from Toshiba for use in its own LCD TVs.

The deal comes amid growing demand for large, inexpensive LCD HDTVs.

Toshiba president Atsutoshi Nishida indicated his company may sell its 15% stake in IPS Alpha Technology, an LCD joint venture with Hitachi Ltd. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., the world's top maker of plasma TVs. This would let Matsushita invest in LCD production as plasma's dominance on the TV market wanes.

Global LCD TV sales will likely grow 85% to $91 billion by 2010, according to a report by research firm DisplaySearch, while plasma TV demand is expected to shrink 15% to $15.8 billion over the same period.

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