Apple may double investment in supplier Japan Display after Harvest Fund pulls our of bailout plan

Takashi Mochizuki and Yang Jie for The Wall Street Journal:

Apple Inc. is looking at doubling its planned investment in a financially strapped display supplier in Japan under a revised bailout deal, people with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Japan Display Inc. was forced Thursday to reopen its search for investors after a Chinese investment fund, Harvest Fund Management Co., sent notification that it wanted to pull out of a previously announced bailout plan, said people who saw the notification. Harvest had been slated to supply more than half of a 80 billion yen ($742 million) package to rescue Japan Display.

Japan Display is a major supplier of liquid crystal displays for iPhone models such as the new iPhone 11. About 60% of Japan Display’s revenue comes from Apple, according to the display maker’s financial documents…

Apple was slated to invest 10 billion yen in the earlier version of the bailout plan and now is looking at doubling that amount to 20 billion yen in light of Harvest’s withdrawal, said people with direct knowledge of the plan. The people said Japan Display hopes to keep together some parts of the earlier investment consortium including Hong Kong hedge-fund manager Oasis Management Co.

MacDailyNews Take: Apple needs suppliers who can make OLED screens – for iPhones, especially – which put competitive pressure on Samsung Display and drive down prices, ultimately allowing Apple to move even mass market iPhone models (2020’s “iPhone 12” or “iPhone 5G”) to OLED while keeping prices reasonable for their highest volume models. The goal is to foster competition in order to say buh-bye to “Liquid Retina LCD” ASAP.

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