Nintendo Sees Loss on Dismal Wii U Sales Videogame Console Maker Struggles Against Mobile Competition http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303465004579325760899958956 Analysts, investors and Nintendo's many game fans have been clamoring for some kind of change in the company's strategy. Suggestions include releasing some of the company's popular game franchises, such as "Super Mario Bros." and "The Legend of Zelda," on mobile devices. Some have also suggested experimenting more with online free-to-play formats. Nintendo has refused to release its own branded games to other platforms, arguing that its success depends on keeping alive the player experience on its own dedicated hardware. Some industry experts are skeptical that Nintendo will change, pointing out that the company has a history of going its own way, and not listening to outside advice. "I hate to say this, but Nintendo is out of touch," said Yoshihisa Toyosaki, president of Tokyo-based information-technology consulting firm Architect Grand Design Inc. "It has a chance to change course, but I doubt it's going to take it."
TOKYO—Japanese display maker Sharp Corp. 6753.TO -4.41%will issue new shares in a public offering to raise as much as ¥150 billion ($1.5 billion), people familiar with the matter said. Coupled with funds from business partners, that would pay down about 15% of Sharp's interest-bearing debt, but it won't give the company an edge over leaner, more aggressive rivals. The Apple Inc. AAPL +1.06%supplier needs cash to shore up finances hit by two straight years of record losses, pay for a pension-funds shortfall, and please creditors, two of whom have sent executives to sit on Sharp's board. In the pecking order of priorities, investment in growth areas such as air purifiers and power-saving display technology, is unlikely to rank high. "Any money left for forward-looking investments will be spread thin and it won't make Sharp any more competitive," said Yoshihisa Toyosaki, an analyst at Tokyo-based IT consultancy Architect Grand Design. "Given a chance, Sharp will want to raise more money later." Sharp plans to announce a public offering of ¥130 billion to ¥150 billion of new shares, two people familiar with the matter said Thursday. The announcement could come as early as next week. The company hopes to raise additional tens of billions of yen by issuing shares to a group of companies as diverse as bathroom and interior fixture maker Lixil Group Corp., 5938.TO -2.61%lawn mower maker Makita Corp. 6586.TO -0.53%and Denso Corp., 6902.TO +1.08%an auto-parts maker, other people with knowledge of the matter said. News of the share sale pushed the company's stock price down by as much as 6% to ¥363, underperforming a 0.3% fall in the benchmark Nikkei average. Sharp executives have acknowledged the need to shore up the company's finances. Spokeswoman Miyuki Nakayama said the company was considering a public share offering as well as other fundraising options, but nothing had been decided. As of the end of June, Sharp's interest-bearing debt stood at ¥1.169 trillion, more than eight times its cash and cash equivalents. The company's equity ratio, a measure of financial stability, was 6%, lower than the 10% considered dire. Sharp has already exhausted other funding sources, securing extensions on loan payment deadlines from banks and selling stakes in itself to rivals such as South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co., 005930.SE -0.28%Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. 2317.TW 0.00%and U.S. chip supplier Qualcomm Inc. QCOM +1.06% Now, the century-old company is hanging on for a chance to reboot its business. Once the world's biggest maker of solar panels and a pioneer in liquid-crystal displays, it bet billions of dollars on state-of-the-art LCD plants in Japan. Sharp's Sakai plant in western Japan went online in the wake of the financial crisis of 2008, exposing the company to a decline in demand for large flat-screen televisions. The company has since been overtaken by the speed and marketing might of nimbler rivals such as Samsung and LG Display Co. LPL -4.62% Sharp is now hanging its hopes for survival on supplying components to Apple and Samsung. For the three months to June, the company posted a narrower quarterly net loss compared with the year-earlier period, thanks to a supply agreement with Samsung, better demand for its small- and medium-size displays from smartphone and tablet makers, and a weaker yen. The company is targeting a net profit of ¥5 billion for the fiscal year ending in March. ※関連記事：http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324549004579070323678300960.html
次世代ハイテクの切り札にも落とし穴がある。 米国Brown University（ブラウン大学）の研究グループによると、未来の半導体材料として期待されているグラフェンが、生体細胞の機能を破壊する細胞毒性を持つことが明らかになったという。 この研究結果が、他の研究機関からも実証されることになれば、グラフェンは、カーボンナノチューブとともに、危険物として分類される可能性がある。 ※関連記事：http://eetimes.jp/ee/articles/1307/25/news051.html