Sony buys stake in Sharp’s LCD manufacturing

In an effort to meet fast-growing demand for LCD television sets, Sony said last week that it will take a one-third stake in Sharrp’s $3.5 billion LCD panel plant set for completion by March 2010.

Sharp plans to turn the liquid crystal display factory, which would be the world’s largest, into a joint venture, with Sharp owning 66 percent and Sony taking the remainder. In addition to LCD panels, the joint venture will also produce LCD modules, which are display panels equipped with components such as a backlight unit and LCD driver chips.

Sharp’s new factory would use so-called tenth-generation glass substrates, which can yield more panels than earlier-generation.

Sony and Sharp are the world’s second- and third-largest LCD TV makers, respectively, behind Samsung Electronics.