Panasonic Will Sell Sanyo TV Business, Says Nikkei

Reports from Japan’s Nikkei newspaper claim that Panasonic will sell its Sanyo subsidiary’s TV business in North America to Funai, which licenses the Philips TV brand in that market.

An agreement on the deal’s value is expected by the end of the year, with the sale completed by the end of March.

Panasonic is trying to turn its unprofitable TV business around. Selling the Sanyo business, which has been struggling to compete with low-cost Chinese companies, would be part of the move.

It is thought that the Sanyo acquisition would boost Funai’s North American TV sales by about 20% annually, to 6 million units.

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This is the second story about the licensing or sale of a TV brand from a major vendor that we have covered in as many weeks. In our last issue we wrote about Sharp licensing its European TV business to UMC (Display Monitor Vol 21 No 42) – and now a source has indicated that the company is in a similar deal with Best Buy in the USA. The Nikkei claimed that this was the case back in February, but as we were not covering the North American TV market in detail at the time, the story slipped under our radar.

According to the Nikkei, Best Buy is offering 32″ – 50″ Sharp TVs manufactured by third parties in countries such as China and Taiwan. Sharp, in return, receives licensing fees and maintains its brand’s life. It is possible that the deal will extend to larger models, which Sharp is known for, in the future. (TA)

The story from the Nikkei would confirm the rumour that we also heard some time ago, that Sharp was planning to focus purely on the largest sized sets in the US. This would mean that it could take advantage of the vertical integration from its G10 fab which is optimised for sizes of 60″ and above and should have a competitive advantage over other LCD makers – at least until and unless BOE builds a G10.5 in China. (BR)