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TPK to jointly acquire almost 50% stake in Japan Display
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TPK CEO Hsieh Li-Chien/Photo courtesy of CNA
Taipei, April 13 (CNA) TPK Holding Co., a Taiwanese touch panel maker, has decided to join forces with other two investors to acquire an almost 50 percent stake in Japan Display Inc. (JDI).

TPK said it will spend up to US$230 million to form a joint venture -- Suwa Investment Holdings LLC -- with China-based Harvest Tech Investment Management Co., Cosgrove Global Ltd. and Topnotch Corp, which are owned by Fubon Group's Tsai family, to invest in JDI.

Through Suwa, TPK, Harvest and the Tsai family will participate in a private placement launched by JDI to raise its paid-in capital.

TPK said Suwa is planning to invest 60 billion Japanese yen (US$536 million) to invest in JDI. Out of the 60 billion yen, Suwa will use 42 billion to buy JDI's common shares to acquire a 49.82- percent stake in the Japanese flat panel maker.

In addition, Suwa will spend 18 billion yen to buy convertible bonds issued by JDI, TDK said. The Taiwanese touch panel maker added that Suwa is likely to buy additional convertible bonds worth 20 billion yen.

Initially, the consortium will obtain a voting stake of 49.82 percent, which is expected to increase to more than 60 percent, according to Japanese news reports.

Due to the investment from Suwa, INCJ Ltd., a Japanese government-backed investment fund, will lose its status as the largest shareholder of JDI, the reports said.

TPK's announcement ended market speculation for its presence in JDI in the past couple of months in the local stock market.

TPK said negotiations on the JDI investment are still underway and due diligence is still proceeding before further details are ironed out.

The Taiwanese firm said it will hold a board meeting to discuss the investment ahead of a formal agreement to be signed for the deal.

According to TPK, the investment is expected to help the company integrate its resources in upstream, mid-stream and downstream touch panel production, which is expected to create synergy to upgrade technology and provide better services to customers at a time when the company is eyeing the automotive electronics market.

In a research note, market information advisory firm IHS Markit said TPK's investment in JDI is expected to help the Taiwanese suitor secure orders from Apple Inc. for production of the Apple Watch.

IHS said JDI owns the Low Temperature Poly-Silicon technology used in Apple Watch production and is expected to become the second supplier to Apple after South Korea's LG Display Co.

JDI was set up in 2012 under a Japanese government initiative to consolidate small and medium-sized flat panel resources at Sony Corp., Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. 
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