Sharp’s $4.4 billion rescue is on hold, after Foxconn said it was not ready to sign a deal announced by its Japanese target. Reuters says Terry Gou, the Taiwanese group’s boss, is due to meet his counterpart Kozo Takahashi in China on Feb. 26. Breakingviews imagines the texts back-and-forth beforehand.
KOZO TAKAHASHI: Hi Terry, are you here yet? I’m out back.
TERRY GOU: Eh? I’m still at the airport.
TAKAHASHI: Oh. My board decided you and I would meet for lunch at Nobu Beijing. It was unanimous. We bravely defied the establishment! I’ve, um, been waiting for hours.
GOU: Okay… well, I’ll hop in a cab. I do like miso cod.
TAKAHASHI: Tell me about it! We’ve spent, like, a gazillion yen here over the years [rice bowl emoji]… You’re okay to pick up all of that tab, right, if I courier you the receipts? [sheepish face]
GOU: Kozo-san, we must talk. You can’t proclaim a $4 billion deal just because you feel like it. That’s not how M&A works. We aren’t ready. I know this is bold for Japan. But things have been getting weird ever since you picked us over the establishment candidate.
TAKAHASHI: Don’t know what you are talking about. We never made you the preferred bidder.
GOU: Right, so that’s odd too. Anyway, hope we can clean this up quickly. We need to talk about these liabilities that just popped up. Hundreds of billions of yen! Why not tell us sooner?
TAKAHASHI: Sorry about that. Email playing up again on the Sharp smartphone [startled face]
GOU: Good grief. We’ll help you embrace the Apple ecosystem!
TAKAHASHI: Fantastic. We look forward to a new era. I mean, obviously without changing Sharp’s managers, staff, factories, brand, or operational independence. But still, things sure will be different with you guys in charge! [smiley]
GOU: I’ll be there ASAP.
TAKAHASHI: Great. And you can pick up the motorbike too.
GOU: The what?
TAKAHASHI: My old motorbike. Everyone expected we’d drop at in the state recycling centre to be split for parts. But then we had a family meeting and decided to sell it to you instead.
GOU: [fuming face] On my way.