Toshiba on Wednesday announced plans to sell 95% stake in its TV business unit to Hisense Electric for approximately $114 million. The transaction will strengthen Hisense’s positions as the world’s fourth largest supplier of TV sets after Samsung, LG and TCL. Hisense will continue to use the Toshiba brand for TVs designed and made by the assets it acquires.

Under the terms of the agreement, Hisense will pay ¥12.9 billion ($114 million) for 95% of Toshiba Visual Solutions Corp. (TVS), which owns Toshiba’s TV-related R&D operations, a portfolio of patents and IP, two factories in Japan, sales, services and other operations. Hisense will also get a license to use the Toshiba brand for a period of 40 years for TVs (and other “visual” products) in Europe, South East Asia and other markets. Toshiba hopes to close the deal by the end of February, 2018. Two and a half years ago, Toshiba already withdrew from the North American as well as European TV markets and licensed its brand in the regions to Compal (1, 2). Now, it is selling off the entire business unit and therefore it remains to be seen what happens to its agreements with Compal (most likely, the brand licensing agreement in Europe will not be renewed in 2018, but we will see about this and other markets).

Liu Hongxin, CEO of Hisense, indicated that TSV would become an integral part of the Hisense Group and therefore the company would optimize its R&D, supply chain and sales operations, but did not elaborate. In addition, the future Toshiba-branded TVs will use LCD panels made by Hisense.

Top 10 TV Makers by Market Share in the Recent Years
Data by NPD DisplaySearch
2014 2015 2016
Brand Share Brand Share Brand Share
Samsung 20.82% Samsung 21% Samsung 21.6%
LG 13.58% LG 12.4% LG 11.9%
Sony 6.22% TCL 7.7% TCL 9%
TCL 5.19% Hisense 5.6% Hisense 6.1%
Hisense 4.93% Sony 5.5% Sony 5.6%
Skyworth 3.95% Skyworth 4.6% Skyworth 4.5%
Panasonic 3.59% TPV (Philips) 3.7% TPV (Philips) 3.8%
Toshiba 3.4% Vizio 3.4% Vizio 3.7%
TPV (Philips) 3.24% Changhong 3% Haier 3.4%
Vizio 3% Haier 2.9% Changhong 3.2%

Hisense, which has been the largest LCD TV maker in China for well over a decade, began its global expansion relatively recently (it entered the U.S. late in the HD era), but has been quite aggressive. Seven years ago, Toshiba was the fifth largest supplier of LCD TVs in the world with a market share of 7.3%, whereas Hisense was the No. 7 maker of LCD TVs with a 3.9% share. Since then, Toshiba’s market share has dropped to 3% or below (which is why it is no longer listed among the Top 10 suppliers) partly because it withdrew from the North American market, whereas Hisense has increased its share to 6.1% in 2016 and became the fourth largest supplier of TVs, according to IHS DisplaySearch (see page 11). The acquisition of Toshiba’s TV business will solidify Hisense’s current position and will bring its market share closer to that controlled by TCL, the No. 3 maker of televisions.

It is noteworthy that Hisense already owns a plant in Mexico as well as rights to use the Sharp trademark for TVs in North American and Latin American markets till 2020. Therefore, the Chinese company will be able to sell Sharp-branded TVs across Americas in the next two years, whereas Toshiba-branded TVs will be sold in Asia, Europe and other markets. Of course, Hisense will continue to use its own trademark as well, but it is considerably easier to grow if you have a well-known name.

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Source: Toshiba

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  • Samus - Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - link

    Hisense is basically sharp. And no matter what sharp says about the quality being “shoddy” that is mostly BS because Hisense kept the same factory in Mexico with the same staff building the same kit they’d been building for the last decade at that factory.

    Sony hasn’t made decent tv’s since tube televisions. They are just super behind in consumer flat panel technology.

    Sad to see Toshiba go, but they really went 15 years ago when they closed their last Japanese assembly plant and all production moved to China and other third world Asian countries.
  • acme64 - Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - link

    Sony's XBR's where the industry gold standard when flat panels took off. Now they're all garbage
  • boozed - Thursday, November 16, 2017 - link

    I didn't know Toshiba even made TVs. They don't sell them up here.
  • IGTrading - Friday, November 17, 2017 - link

    My parents still have a CRT 30" FullFlat TOSHIBA TV :)

    Very highly quality and reliable.

    I think it was bought back in 2004 or something ...
  • vladx - Friday, November 17, 2017 - link

    Sad, I still have an old Toshiba CRT working after more than 10 years.
  • StrangerGuy - Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - link

    The TV market is so cutthroat these days that 4K took less than a year to hit the usual bargain basement prices. Soon HDR will follow 4K in that path if consumers cared, or become the next 3D if they don't.
  • watzupken - Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - link

    I think it is a good idea for Toshiba to get out of the TV market. The market has been on a steady decline over the years with tablets and big smart phones slowly taking over their place. I watch a lot of movies, but only do so on my laptop and iPad. Generally people that are working spend a lot of time on the go, so may not have the time to sit in front of the TV.
  • acme64 - Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - link

    I work, i don't "go", i sit on my couch and watch movies like i always have. Don't confuse your experience with everyone
  • StrangerGuy - Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - link

    I remembered reading a paywalled article that the overall TV sales fell to just $100 billion in 2016 from $140 billion in 2015 despite moving more units, so people are actually buying more of them except they are becoming more price-conscious than ever. Besides, as long as you are not a demanding videophile TVs are becoming so cheap now that they are effectively a disposable item.

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