Foxconn Reportedly Pursuing $5.1 Billion Acquisition Of Sharp

Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that builds most of Apple's iPhone devices and other mobile products, is said to have offered around 600 billion yen ($5.1 billion in U.S. currency) to take over Japanese electronics maker Sharp Corp., the latter of which has seen better days.

Citing a person familiar with the talks, Bloomberg says the struggling electronics maker has until the end of January to respond to the offer. It's the latest attempt by Foxconn, otherwise known as Hon Hai Precision, to take controlling interest in Sharp, efforts of which date back several years.

In 2012, Foxconn chairman Terry Gou bought a 38 percent stake in Sharp's display factory in Japan. At the same time, Foxconn presented an offer of 66.9 billion yen (around $571 million) for a near 10 percent share of Sharp, but that deal fell through after Sharp's stock price went tumbling down following a less than stellar earnings report.

Foxconn isn't the only one making a bid for Sharp. Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ), a government backed investment fund, is also in the mix. Sharp sought funding from INCJ to help make a new round of debt payments, and that triggered talks into acquiring the company outright.

The appeal for Foxconn, however, is that buying Sharp would immediately expand its business operations beyond that of an assembly firm. Sharp is also one of the largest makers of displays for mobile devices, which Foxconn could leverage to gain more business from companies like Apple and Amazon.

As for Sharp's motivation to consider a buyout, it's facing debt of almost 792 billion yen (around $6.76 billion). On top of that, Sharp's losses over the past four years have exceeded 1.1 trillion yen (around $9.4 billion).