Hisense looks for a leg-up in U.S., buys Sharp America for $23.7 million

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It’s both the end of an era and the beginning of a new one today, as Chinese TV manufacturer Hisense is acquiring Sharp America in a $23.7 million deal.

Full ownership of all “equity and assets” of Sharp’s TV factory, located in Mexico, will be transferred to Hisense, as well as exclusive use of the Sharp brand name in both North and South America.”This acquisition will have Hisense completely taking over Sharp’s TV business in these regions,” Hisense said in a press release issued today.

The deal becomes official in January 2016. Until then, Sharp will continue to manufacture and sell its current lineup of Aquos televisions. “Customers should be assured that Sharp will continue to provide both in-warranty and out-of-warranty service and parts availability for years to come on these products,” the company said in a statement issued to Digital Trends.

While the name might not immediately ring a bell for most consumers, Hisense has had an increasingly large presence in the world of televisions in recent years, and the company expects this move to help it “gain an upper hand in both North and South America with the extended market capacity.” Already one of the biggest names in China, Hisense expects revenues in the Americas to increase by $2 billion as a result of the deal.

Headquartered in Japan, Sharp Corporation is was founded in 1912. One of the early investors in LCD televisions the brand quickly became associated with them, but in recent years it has lost ground to competition from fellow Japanese compatriot Sony, as well as Korean brands Samsung, and LG. The company has seen job cuts in recent years, so this move makes financial sense. Sharp Electronics remains unaffected by this deal, and will continue to sell home appliances.

While the company is on the move abroad, Hisense hasn’t made signicant headway with American customers to date. In an effort to change that, last year Hisense was one of the first companies to manufacture Roku TVs, along with fellow Chinese manufacturer TCL. The popular Roku UI gave the company’s brand recognition a boost, but likely not as much as it had hoped.

Thus far, our experience with Hisense has been somewhat lackluster when it comes to performance, with TVs offering a picture that is on par with the brand’s budget status. However, Hisense has big aspirations to build out a strong presence in 4K TV, and OLED displays, and the Sharp deal could bring something new to the table.

Though the brand has declined in popularity, Sharp maintains its share of fans. Hisense no doubt sees this deal as a way to compete against better-established brands in the U.S. More details on acquisition will be revealed at a press conference Hisense has planned for next week on August 4.

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