Meeting though to be a Sony attempt to secure more LCD screens

The flat panel TV market is booming with HDTV sales on the rise globally and demand for 3D TVs starting in earnest. With an increased demand for finished products comes an increased need by major manufactures like Sony for components, particularly LCD panels that are traditionally in short supply.

Samsung and Sony executives have reportedly met to discuss their alliances. The executives at the meeting included Sony CEO Howard Stringer along with Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, CEO Choi Geesung, and COO Jay Y. Lee. Exactly what was being discussed at the meeting is not being unveiled, but many suspect the topic is Sony looking to secure a stable supply of LCD screens for its TVs. Sony and Samsung are also thought to be possibly be talking about a set standard for 3D TVs.

Analyst Ricky Seo from KB Investment & Securities said, "It's [the meeting] mainly aimed at Sony rebuilding and consolidating its relationship with Samsung because its strategy of diversifying panel suppliers to the likes of Sharp has failed to ensure smooth supplies. So, it's like Sony coming back for more cooperation as it needs Samsung to meet its aggressive promotion of TV business, especially to get advanced panels for 3D TV production."

Sony and Samsung have been involved in a joint venture in the LCD market since 2004, though Sony does have a similar venture with Sharp. The Sharp venture was only announced last year and Sony invested $756 million to buy a 1/3 stake in the joint venture. Other analysts told Reuters that there is a chance that the topic of the meetings is to review the strategic value of the ties between the two companies in the LCD market.

Representatives from Sony and Samsung offered no details on the meetings. Stringer told Reuters, We [Stringer and Lee Kun-hee] meet all the time because we have a joint venture. We are pals. So we get to negotiate or discuss the joint venture a lot, and it was one of those meetings. It's a traditional meeting... But it was not a big meeting, it's a regular meeting."

This is reportedly the first major meeting Lee has been part of since he returned as Samsung Chairman. Lee was convicted of tax evasion two years ago and later pardoned by the South Korean President.

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