经济学人:丛林法则 夏普和鸿海交易陷入困局
日期:2012-08-21 08:21


Sharp and Hon Hai.
Law of the jungle.
A deal between a Chinese firm and a Japanese tech giant hits trouble.
"AS HUMAN beings are also animals, to manage one million animals gives me a headache." So declared Terry Guo, the chairman of Taiwan's Hon Hai, earlier this year. His firm's Foxconn division is China's biggest contract manufacturer and makes most of Apple's whizzy devices. He has since apologised for his remarks and insisted they were taken out of context. Perhaps they were, but fresh signs emerged this week that he does indeed believe in the law of the jungle.
"富士康拥有超过1百万员工,人类也是动物,如何管理这100万动物让我很头疼",这是今年年初鸿海集团主席郭台铭曾发表的言论。他旗下的子公司富士康是中国最大的合同制造商,并为苹果公司供应了最多的先进配件装置。后来他为此番"员工动物论"出面道歉同时坚称媒体的报道是断章取义。或许关于此事的报道是有失偏颇,但从这周的最新迹象可以看出的是,他确实信奉"丛林法则" 。
Mr Guo made a splash in March when he announced an unusual deal with Sharp, an ailing Japanese technology giant. Hon Hai and Foxconn Technology, an affiliate, said they would invest over $1.6 billion in Sharp in return for around a tenth of the company. Sharp, hit badly by the downturn in the market for flat-screen devices, needed the cash. Hon Hai was keen to get the inside track to advanced glass technology (used in iPhone displays, for example) much valued by Apple, its main customer. Both sides trumpeted this as a done deal.
今年3月郭台铭宣布了和困境中的日本科技巨头夏普公司的合作而一石惊起千层浪 。他的鸿海集团及旗下的富士康科技集团宣称他们会耗资超过16亿美元收购夏普约 10%的股份。因液晶平板设备行业衰落而遭遇重创的夏普现在急需现金流。而鸿海又急切希望能在有利平台上改进镜面板工艺技术(如在Iphone手机上的显示应用),这是它最大客户苹果公司最看中的价值。当时双方都表示这样的合作会是板上钉钉的事.
Alas, a deal is not always a deal in the corporate jungle. The Japanese firm's share price has fallen by some two-thirds since March, when the two firms shook hands. Sharp's investors believed that Hon Hai had thrown the firm a reliable lifeline. But Mr Guo's investors were rather less pleased. The ill-timed deal would, by one estimate, mean Hon Hai having to write down the value of its investment by NT$12 billion ($400m) this year.
The bombshell hit on August 3rd, a day when Sharp's shares fell by 28% on news of an anticipated loss of $1.2 billion in the second quarter. Hon Hai said the two firms had agreed that "due to the current price volatility of Sharp shares, Foxconn will not be required to fulfil its subscription obligations." Alas, that news seemed to surprise Sharp, which put out a terse note saying no revision had been agreed.
What is going on? Kirk Yang of Barclays Capital, a bank, reckons it unlikely that Sharp will force Hon Hai to honour its original deal. He thinks the likely outcome is for Hon Hai to take a 9.9% stake in Sharp but at a price closer to ¥200-300 ($2.50-3.80) rather than ¥550, where the shares stood when the deal was agreed in March. Others speculate that a reworked deal may give his firm a bigger stake in Sharp.
到底发生了什么?巴克莱资本投行的分析师杨应超(Kirk Yang)认为夏普不太可能逼迫鸿海按初期(股价大跌前)约定的价格履行交易。他认为比较可能的结果是鸿海按每股近200-300日元(2.5-3.8美元)收购夏普9.9%的股份,而不是按3月和夏普谈定交易时每股500日元的价格。其他机构揣测这桩要重新商谈的交易也有可能会夏普在总收购价不变的前提下多送一些股份给鸿海。
That might seem like good news for Hon Hai. If Mr Guo does not pour all the cash he has promised into Sharp, his investors would be relieved. The contradictory statements this week may simply be a result of Sharp's internal bureaucracy moving more slowly than the dynamic Mr Guo, in which case the Japanese company may well confirm a revised deal shortly.
Still, there is reason to think this might prove a Pyrrhic victory for Hon Hai. After all, it would still be saddled with a stake in a debt-laden firm with diminishing prospects. By withdrawing a much-needed lifeline, it might well be propelling Sharp towards eventual bankruptcy. Mr Guo surely knows that in the jungle, mistakes can prove fatal.

  • volatilityn. 挥发性,挥发度,轻快,(性格)反复无常
  • anticipatedadj. 预期的;期望的 v. 预料(anticipat
  • corporateadj. 社团的,法人的,共同的,全体的
  • staken. 桩,赌注,利害关系 v. 下注,用桩支撑
  • currentn. (水、气、电)流,趋势 adj. 流通的,现在的,
  • reliableadj. 可靠的,可信的
  • trackn. 小路,跑道,踪迹,轨道,乐曲 v. 跟踪,追踪
  • revisionn. 校订,修正,修订本,复习
  • terseadj. 简洁的,简明的
  • contextn. 上下文,环境,背景