Apple supplier Japan Display agrees to $800m bailout
Nikkei -- Dec 13
Money-losing Apple supplier Japan Display has agreed to a 90 billion yen ($828 million) cash infusion from the Ichigo Asset Management group, securing a financial lifeline after a rescue plan by a Taiwan-China consortium collapsed in September.

Under the basic agreement announced Thursday, Japan Display, or JDI, will procure 80 billion to 90 billion yen from Ichigo in exchange for common shares and convertible bonds. JDI expects to ink the deal in January, with the transaction taking place in February or March.

The panel maker has been struggling to find sponsors to turnaround its troubled business. The bailout saga took a chaotic turn at the end of September when a 80 billion yen bailout put together by an alliance of Taiwanese and Chinese investors fell through. It is still uncertain whether the latest rescue plan will move forward accordingly.

"Ichigo Asset is proposing the investment on the assumption that it will hold [JDI shares] for the long term, and I strongly feel that we would be able to receive support from them," JDI President Minoru Kikuoka told reporters Thursday.

"I was told by Ichigo that we should be the ones to turn around the business," he said, stressing the company will be able to maintain autonomy under Ichigo turanaround.

Ichigo could end up with a majority interest in JDI, depending on the size of the direct stake and the extent to which Ichigo exercises the right to convert the debt into common stock. Ichigo apparently wants to install CEO Scott Callon as JDI's chairman if a final deal is reached.

A big question facing JDI is whether it can create a core growth business, such as sensors, that can take over from displays. Doing so will require more investment in research and development.

News source: Nikkei
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