Apple may buy Japan Display's manufacturing plant to help keep it afloat

Japan Display plant
Japan Display plant (Image credit: Ken Kobayashi)

What you need to know

  • Apple may buy Japan Display's factory.
  • The display-maker has been in financial trouble for some time.
  • It has long been a provider of displays for Apple.

Apple may buy Japan Display's main display manufacturing plant, according to a new Nikkei (via Reuters and Cult of Mac).

The report says that Sharp could also be part of the purchase with the whole sale set to be worth anything up to $820 million.

Japan Display has been in a fire financial state for a long time and recently reported its 11th consecutive quarterly net loss. Its issues stem from a move to OLED displays throughout the technology industry. The company has been slow to bring OLED manufacturing online to complement its existing LCD operations, leaving it at a disadvantage. It's now working to correct that and already makes some displays for Apple Watch.

It was previously thought that Apple would inject $200 million into Japan Display by buying some of its equipment, but that now appears to have changed.

The cash-strapped company had said this month that financial support of $200 million promised by "a customer", which sources said was Apple, may come in the form of purchasing equipment at the plant.Those discussions appear to have switched to the sale of the entire factory, the Nikkei said. Japan Display owes Apple more than $800 million for the $1.5 billion cost of building the plant four years ago.

With Japan Display steadily losing money for the past five years and previous faud allegations causing further problems these are worrying times. The company will be hoping that Apple's deep pockets will help it out.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.