When four combine to become one

05 September 2011

Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), Hitachi Ltd., Sony Corporation and Toshiba Corporation have announced that they have signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding to integrate their small and medium-sized display businesses, which are operated by subsidiaries of Hitachi, Sony and Toshiba, in a new company to be established and operated by INCJ. All four are aiming to sign definitive and legally-binding agreements in the Autumn of 2011.

It is hoped that completion of the business integration will occur in Spring 2012, subject to the receipt of any necessary government approvals.

All of the issued shares of subsidiaries of Hitachi, Sony and Toshiba engaged in the small and medium-sized display business, collectively referred to as the Subject Subsidiaries and other assets are planned to be transferred to NewCo and INCJ, as a public-private partnership that provides financial, technological and management support for next-generation businesses. It plans to invest a total of 200 billion yen in NewCo in exchange for shares to be newly issued to INCJ by 'NewCo' as a third-party allotment.

Eventually, INCJ expects to hold 70% of the shares with voting rights of NewCo, while Hitachi, Sony and Toshiba each expect to hold 10% of such shares.

The global market of small and medium-sized displays is expected to grow rapidly due to anticipated strong demand for high resolution, high value-added products, particularly for smartphones and tablet computers, and superior high resolution display technology, in which Japanese companies are world leaders, is key to competitiveness. Other small and medium-sized display manufacturers have announced significant investment plans to try to capture this market, and appropriate measures are required in order to enhance competitiveness.

'NewCo' is expected to utilise the world’s best high value-added technologies of the Subject Subsidiaries and establish new production lines by investing capital, which will be provided by INCJ, in order to meet the market demand for high value-added products. In addition, by efficient use of existing production capabilities of the Subject Subsidiaries, NewCo aims to improve its cost competitiveness to solidify its position as a global leading company in the small and medium-sized display market.

In order to maintain and enhance the technologies, NewCo is also expected to invest in the world’s most advanced research and development. This investment will focus on the development of high-potential next-generation technologies, including higher resolution and thinner OLED displays, in an effort to drive forward the market as a whole.

NewCo’s management will be newly hired, and INCJ is leading the selection process. INCJ, Hitachi, Sony and Toshiba plan to appoint the outside directors of NewCo. Also, INCJ, Hitachi, Sony and Toshiba intend to provide NewCo with technical support, and NewCo will establish a strong governance framework and business infrastructure.

“This is a landmark project for INCJ in our mission to make impactful, long-term and hands-on investments to grow next-generation businesses worldwide in the spirit of open innovation,” said Kimikazu Noumi, President and CEO of INCJ. “The new company will become a leading small and medium-sized display manufacturer, and by pooling compelling technological know-how, will be positioned to win in a competitive and lucrative global growth market that has a real impact on the quality of people’s everyday lives.”

Howard Stringer, Chairman, CEO and President, Representative Corporate Executive Officer of Sony Corporation, added: “By integrating each partner company’s wealth of display expertise and know-how, I am confident the new company will become a driving force for technological innovation and new growth in the rapidly expanding small and medium-sized display market. I believe it will perform a vital role in ensuring the stable supply of high quality display devices that further enhance the user experience in the growing field of smartphones and tablet computers.”

Norio Sasaki, Director, Representative Executive Officer, President and Chief Executive Officer of Toshiba commented: “I have every confidence that this integration of three highly capable manufacturers of small and medium-sized displays and their leading-edge technologies, along with the infusion of capital from INCJ, will create a highly competitive company. Toshiba will provide full support for the new company as it seeks to win leadership in the global market.”

Hiroaki Nakanishi, President of Hitachi, Ltd. concluded by saying: "The new company, which integrates the three companies' technology, experience and resource, possess the necessary capabilities to offer high value-added products to meet customer needs, through the development of cutting-edge display technologies. I believe the new company will fully satisfy customers to succeed and to become a leading company in the global market.”

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