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Japan's Sharp jumps 14% on Pioneer sale report

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Shares in struggling Japanese electronics maker Sharp rocketed more than 14 percent on Monday morning after a weekend report that it plans to sell its entire 9.2 percent stake in rival Pioneer.

Sharp shares were up 14.02 percent at 382 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange at the break while Pioneer climbed 6.19 percent to 223 yen.

Sharp, the largest shareholder in Pioneer, aims to sell the 30 million shares in a lump-sum deal as early as this month to companies that can expect synergies with Pioneer's operations, the Nikkei newspaper reported.

It has been holding negotiations with potential buyers -- manufacturers in the automobile and medical device industries -- and is believed to have narrowed down the list to just a few, the business daily said.

The shares were worth 6.3 billion yen ($64 million) based on Pioneer's stock price as of Friday. Sharp plans to use gains on the sale to help repay debts, the Nikkei said.

"The sale will obviously be a boon to Sharp in its cash-raising quest," said Toshiyuki Kanayama, market analyst at Monex Inc., noting that news on Sharp have been more positive of late.

The Nikkei last week reported Sharp's second-half earnings figures would be better than expected, reaching more than 20 billion yen in group operating profit against its profit projection of 13.8 billion yen.

Sharp became the top shareholder in its financially troubled Pioneer as part of a broader tie-up in 2007 in response to growing competition.

At that time Sharp had seen four straight years of record profits thanks to fast-growing sales of flat-screen televisions while Pioneer was having a hard time after being saddled with overcapacity in plasma display panels.

Pioneer is expected to keep holding 10 million Sharp shares, representing a 0.8 percent stake, the Nikkei said.

Sharp did not confirm the report, saying there had been no decision on its holdings.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130414/japans-sharp-jumps-14-pioneer-sale-report