The following is excerpted from IRG's weekly stock report:
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- Fujitsu Ltd. (OTCPK:FJTSY) will not sell its hard disk drive business to Western Digital Corp. (NYSE:WDC). The two companies were in talks about such a deal in October, Reuters reported at the time. A company official had said the unit was a money loser for Fujitsu. Fujitsu wanted to sell all its domestic and overseas hard-drive factories together and allow many of the workers to keep their jobs, the report said. It said the two sides could not reach agreement on these conditions. The sharp appreciation of the yen made it more difficult for the parties to agree on a price. Fujitsu was believed to have asked for 50 billion yen (US$550 million) or more after reporting the price as 70 billion yen (US$5.2 billion) or higher in October. Fujitsu, with a 20 percent market share in hard drives, competes in a market that is dominated by Seagate Technology (NASDAQ:STX), which has a 60 percent share.
- Toshiba Corp. (OTCPK:TOSBF) said it will spend several tens of billions of yen to build a lithium-ion battery factory in northern Japan to meet anticipated demand. Construction of the plant in Niigata Prefecture, northern Japan, is scheduled to begin in the fall of next year, with full production starting in 2010. The factory will make an advanced model, Super Charge Ion Battery, for industrial and automotive applications. Revenue in the business will reach 170 billion yen (US$1.9 billion) in the year ending March 2016, said Hiroko Mochida, a spokeswoman for Toshiba.
- Toshiba has announced plans to temporarily shut down NAND flash memory production at its Yokkaichi Operations in Mie Prefecture, Japan. It also plans to suspend production in its other semiconductor plants in Oita, Kitakyushu, and Ibo-gun. The company said the adjustment will cut production by approximately 30 percent in its four fabs. Recession in the global economy and the slowdown in consumer spending are having a significant impact on demand for semiconductors, particularly in NAND flash memories, where decreased demand for applications such as memory cards and MP3 players has generated excess supply.
- Renesas Technology Corp. said it plans to cut 1,000 temporary jobs by March 31, eliminating all such workers. The company has about 26,000 full-time employees. The spokesman declined to comment on the extent of personnel cuts prior to the 1,000 jobs that will be eliminated from January. Japanese chipmakers are joining electronics firms and automobile manufacturers in cutting workers to reduce costs and weather slumping demand as the global recession deepens. Japan’s economy shrank an annualized 1.8 percent in the third quarter, the country’s first recession since 2001. Sony Corp.’s (NYSE:SNE) Dec. 9 announcement that it will cut 8,000 temporary workers and 8,000 full-time jobs is the largest culling in Japan since the global credit crunch drove the world into a recession.
Media, Entertainment and Gaming
- Konami Digital Entertainment Co. (NYSE:KNM) will begin distributing games for Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone mobile phone. The games will capitalize on the iPhone's touch panel and tilt sensor, and will be distributed in Japan, Europe and the U.S. Three titles will debut. In the zombie action game "Silent Hill: The Escape," users can move their players by tracing their fingers on the touch panel, and can aim a gun at enemy characters by tilting the phone. The music game "Dance Dance Revolution S Lite" is played by tapping stationary arrow-shaped icons at the top of the screen when they align with similarshaped icons that rise from the bottom of the screen. The game currently has one tune and is free of charge, but in the future the company plans to charge customers for a multiple-tune version.