Japan Display has put feelers out to both Apple and Sharp in hopes of selling its main smartphone screen display factory, as it looks to settle its massive load of debt.
The factory, which Japan Display paid $1.5 billion to build four years ago, could be sold for as much as $820 million to either company if they opt to do so. Sharp, which is owned by Taiwanese electronics giant Foxconn, is “carefully considering” its options.
“We are carefully considering it, reviewing the impact that any purchase would have on our earnings, and whether and how much risk it would entail,” Sharp said in a statement.
Japan Display has recently been in talks with Ichigo Asset Management to receive financial support. However, depending on the amount the two settle on, Ichigo could effectively take control of the display maker. Ichigo could provide Japan Display with as much as 45 billion yen ($414 million) in the form of common share purchases at up to 50 yen per share.
A Reuters report says Apple has not responded to a request for comment.
Japan Display borrowed approximately $1.5 billion from Apple to build an LCD display plant four years ago with the agreement that they would pay the money back over time. The company still owes Apple over $800 million.
However, Apple’s shift OLED displays for its iPhone lineup led to fewer LCD display orders to Japan Display. While the display maker is making moves to produce OLED panels for the Apple Watch, it could be as long as two years before samples from the company are ready for Apple.
Apple is involved in a bailout consortium designed to keep Japan Display in business and has offered shorter payment terms. Japan Display is believed to currently rely on Apple for approximately 60% of its revenue.