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Sharp board said to be divided on making bailout decision today

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Sharp Corp's directors are divided over whether to make a decision at a board meeting today between competing rescue plans, according to people familiar with the matter.

[TOKYO] Sharp Corp's directors are divided over whether to make a decision at a board meeting today between competing rescue plans, according to people familiar with the matter.

Several directors including some independent members think the board should spend more time considering a bailout offer from Foxconn Technology Group, while others continue to support a bid from the government-backed Innovation Network Corp of Japan, said the people, who couldn't be identified because the matter is private.

Sharp's board had earlier planned to make a decision today on its preferred bailout partner, but that move may now be delayed, the people said.

Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou met Sharp's board at their Osaka headquarters Jan 30 to make his case for a raised bid of about 660 billion yen (S$7.92 billion), a person familiar with the matter has said. Though the Taiwanese company is offering more money, Sharp has been inclined to take the deal with INCJ, which plans to invest about 300 billion yen, people familiar with the matter said last month.

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Toyodo Uemura, a spokesman for Sharp, said the company doesn't disclose the content of board discussions.

A deal with INCJ would allow Sharp to keep its technology within Japan and cooperate more closely with domestic companies, people familiar with the matter have said.

INCJ's investment would be the most recent example of Japan's government providing support to struggling domestic companies to keep technology out of the hands of foreign rivals. Four years ago, INCJ created Japan Display Inc from the struggling screen units of Toshiba Corp, Sony Corp and Hitachi Ltd with a 200 billion yen infusion.

Sharp shares rose 2.2 per cent to 140 yen at 9.47am in Tokyo trading. The stock had gained 10 per cent this year before today.

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