By Takashi Mochizuki
TOKYO—Toshiba Corp. /zigman2/quotes/204149068/delayed TOSYY -2.39% , which was the first in the world to commercialize laptop computers in 1985, is selling the business to Sharp Corp., a symbolic step marking Toshiba’s withdrawal from most consumer businesses.
Sharp is paying just ¥4 billion ($36 million) for an 80.1% stake in a business that once was at the forefront of the global move toward mobile computing. Osaka-based Sharp, controlled by Taiwan-based iPhone assembler Foxconn Technology Group /zigman2/quotes/204111604/delayed TW:2354 -0.17% , has been expanding its consumer goods lineup because Foxconn wants to establish itself in branded electronic products.
The deal, disclosed by the companies Tuesday, highlights a contrast between the two electronics makers, both of which faced multibillion-dollar losses and management turmoil several years ago. Sharp has managed to turn itself around quickly under foreign management while Toshiba, which received more support from the Japanese government during its restructuring, is still trying to streamline its unprofitable portfolio.
Toshiba’s laptop PCs, sold under the Dynabook name, helped make the conglomerate famous among consumers outside Japan, but the business has lost money for the past five years and was at the center of a profit-padding scandal that the company disclosed in 2015.
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