Hitachi, Canon and Matsushita reached a basic agreement on a comprehensive alliance aimed at reinforcing and growing the liquid crystal display panel businesses and technologies.
Under this alliance, the three companies will merge their strengths to accelerate the development of cutting-edge display technologies and expand their scope of application. Hitachi possesses sophisticated liquid crystal-related technologies, including the In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology that enables outstanding color reproducibility, wide viewing angles and other superior features. Canon excels in the camera, printer and medical equipment fields, while Matsushita commands global leadership in the flat-panel TV field.
Moreover, it has been basically agreed by the three companies that Canon and Matsushita will, by transfer of shares from Hitachi, each acquire 24.9% of the shares of Hitachi, by March 31, 2008, subject to approvals by regulatory authorities. As a result, Hitachi’s stake in Hitachi Displays is to become 50.2%.
Hitachi has decided to expand its business alliances with Canon and Matsushita in order to advance the development of cutting-edge LCD panel technologies through collaborative creation with the respective companies. Hitachi will strengthen its competitiveness in the flat-panel LCD TV sector by using LCD panels to develop the world’s thinnest flat-panel LCD TV and its ultra-thin flat-panel LCD TVs “Wooo UT series.” In addition, by working to optimally allocate business resources in order to establish a high profit structure as a group, Hitachi will work to advance its basic management policy of “Collaborative Creation and Profits.”
By paving the way for stable procurement of LCD panels through acquisition of an equity interest in Hitachi Displays, Canon seeks to sharpen its product development capabilities by shortening development times and enhancing product features. It also aims to reinforce its digital single-lens reflex camera and various other product businesses employing high-quality, small- to medium-sized LCD panels in the consumer electronics, office equipment, medical and other fields. Furthermore, Canon aims to accelerate ongoing development of organic light-emitting diode (“OLED”) displays by teaming up with Hitachi.
Canon will continue to develop various types of displays in order to realize cross-media imaging – a combination of imaging input and output equipment for data, still images and video that allows users to intuitively process images and information in any context in daily life or industry.
Matsushita is expanding and strengthening its mainline PDP operations. It is also deepening its involvement in the businesses of Hitachi Displays, a designer, manufacturer and marketer of IPS liquid crystal panels for large TVs, and of IPS Alpha, a joint venture held by companies including Matsushita and Canon. These moves are part of a Matsushita-orchestrated initiative in collaboration with the Hitachi Group to ensure a stable supply of liquid crystal displays by pushing ahead with construction of a next-generation plant at IPS Alpha.
As the second stage, the three companies are planning ownership changes that would have Canon, a company with extensive know-how in small- and medium-sized displays from the user side, take a majority holding in Hitachi Displays, and Matsushita, a universally acknowledged leader in the TV sector, take a majority holding in IPS Alpha.