Sharp Exits Consumer TV Market in Americas — Sort of (Updated)

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Reuters reported this morning that Sharp Corporation has decided to exit the TV market in North and South America.

They’ve not been profitable in the TV market in years and after a $2 Billion refinance, they promised to eliminate 5,000 jobs — this was the best and easiest way to do that. Cut the department hemorrhaging money.

But, just as they announced that, it was announced that China’s Hisense Group says they have purchased the rights to the Sharp brand in North and South America. Hisense Group bought all equity and assets of Sharp’s TV factory in Mexico for $23.7 million with rights to use the “Sharp” brand name and all its channel resources in both both regions. This acquisition will have Hisense completely taking over Sharp’s TV business in these regions.

So, what about commercial monitors?

Well, that meeting is being held today at 3 p.m. when Sharp’s USA president and senior vice president of sales will brief the commercial sales team what their future plans are. Sources tell rAVe that they believe that the Pro Monitors as well as the NEW LC60″, LC70″ and LC80″  the “661” Series announced at InfoComm will remain intact.

We will post more information as soon as we know it. Check back later today!

Update #1:

We just had a conversation with Sharp Senior Vice President of Marketing and Operations Mike Marusic and he was kind enough to share all the commercial AV details with our us. So, this deal has nothing to do with the professional or prosumer line of Sharp displays. In fact, every new product launched at InfoComm is still on schedule as announced at the show — including the new 4K line, the 90” and all the AQUOS Board products. Marusic explained that the consumer TVs are manufactured at separate factories and separate production lines.

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Update #2:

We have obtained a copy of an internal memo to Sharp employees that was just released — it’s from Toshihiko Fujimoto, Regional Chief Officer for North & South America, Sharp Corporation Chairman & CEO, Sharp Electronics Corporation. If you want to read it, click here [PDF].

So, the summary: Our industry is not affected by this change within Sharp and, in fact, it is likely that Sharp will become a better commercial monitor provider as more resources that may have been spent on the consumer line could now be shifted to support the B2B world.

Sharp’s professional line is here and its AQUOS Board line is here.