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Hitachi Ltd. said Wednesday it will acquire a majority stake in a 50-50 plasma display panel manufacturing joint venture with Fujitsu Ltd., as it aims to bolster its PDP TV business amid intensifying competition.

Under the deal, Hitachi will buy 30.1 percent of Fujitsu Hitachi Plasma Display Ltd. (FHP) from Fujitsu, thereby raising Hitachi’s total share in the joint venture to 80.1 percent.

Hitachi officials declined to say how much it would spend on the deal, which also includes Fujitsu’s PDP technology patents.

Fujitsu said it decided that it was necessary to give effective control of the joint venture to Hitachi and count on Hitachi’s competitive knowhow in marketing flat-screen TVs.

Fujitsu’s decision to reduce its stake in the joint venture follows a similar move by NEC Corp., which agreed to sell its PDP business to Pioneer Corp. last year.

Japanese manufacturers have been under constant pressure to make major investments to stay competitive with South Korean companies.

For Fujitsu and NEC, both of which have little or no presence in TV set market, flat-panel operations became a burden.

Hitachi said it aims to expand its PDP TV business on a global scale, with an eye on the United States and China.

The major electronics maker said it is aiming to raise its market share in PDP TVs to 15 percent from 11 percent over the next two years.

FHP, established in 1999, is the fourth-largest plasma display panel maker in the world, with 17.6 percent share, according to U.S. research firm DisplaySearch. The top three are: Samsung SDI Co. and LG Electronics of South Korea, and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co.

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