IPS Alpha to Become Matsushita Subsidiary

JCN Network: On February 15, 2008, Hitachi and Matsushita Electric Industrial announced an alliance reached on December 25, 2007 by Hitachi, Matsushita, and Canon.

Under the terms of this agreement, Matsushita will acquire a 24.9% stake in Hitachi Displays, which is a wholly owned Hitachi subsidiary that makes small/medium LCD panels, from Hitachi by March 31, 2008. After that Matsushita will acquire all issued shares of IPS Alpha and all IPS-based large-area LCD panel businesses owned by Hitachi Displays for JPY66 billion. Hitachi will consider holding up to 10% of IPS Alpha. Hitachi Displays will retain majority ownership of IPS Alpha until the deal is completed.

Under U.S. accounting standards, IPS Alpha will become a Matsushita consolidated subsidiary as of March 31, 2008. Matsushita is already the most formidable PDP TV player in the world and this move will enable the company to be a top TV company regardless of technology. Matsushita will play a key role in IPS Alpha’s new Gen. 8 plant in cooperation with the Hitachi Group.

This will also be a positive development for LG.Philips LCD, soon to be LG Display. In many cases, big brand companies such as Dell and HP try not to sole source LCD panels. Recently brands have mixed IPS and VA panels for the same models with conflicting success. Customers who end up getting a LCD monitor that happens to have a IPS panel will either like it for color fidelity and little-to-no color shifting at angles or dislike it for the slightly less contrast ratio from dead center relative to VA panels. With IPS Alpha, even though most of its capacity will be geared toward LCD TV panel production, a dual sourcing option is available for the brands, especially for LCD TV applications.

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