Sharp has announced its decision to issue new shares to sell to Samsung Electronics Japan. The shares will end up being equivalent to 3.04% of the voting rights. According to Sharp, the company has already been providing Samsung with LCD panels. The deal provides Sharp with much needed revenue and Samsung access to panels (and maybe even panel technology).
The deal is worth $110 million and will give Samsung more access to Apple's largest panel supplier after LG. However Qualcomm was actually the first major player to get a piece of the IGZO pie, back in December, in a tiered deal worth up to $120 million.
It's no secret that Japan's "Big Three" television makers (Sony, Panasonic and Sharp) have been more than struggling. Reuters goes as far as to say the Japanese companies are getting 'clobbered' by Samsung (and LG presumably) in overseas sales.
Precisely what Samsung is after or its motives behind the deal are not exactly clear. Analysts claim Samsung could be looking into screens over 60 inches, a market in its infancy and rapidly growing. The deal would get Samsung preferential pricing in such a scenario, while buying the company time to focus on OLED TVs.
Funnily enough, there are even rumors Samsung could be eyeballing Sharp's solar panel business. If that isn't proof that no-one besides Samsung knows its motives, we don't know what is.