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Wednesday, January 20, 2010
AU Optronics Purchases FED-related Assets and Technology From Failed Sony Venture

AU Optronics Corp. (AUO) announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Field Emission Technologies (FET) and FET Japan, Inc. (FETJ), to purchase certain assets and to transfer certain technology from FET, a leader in FED (field emission displays) technology whose 39.8% of shareholding is owned by Sony Corporation.

In the transaction, AUO will acquire certain assets that include patents, know-how, inventions, and relevant equipment related to FED technology and materials, the company said.

The fast response time, high efficiency, brightness, and contrast of FED technology not only compare favorably with traditional CRT technology but also outperform in terms of image quality and power efficiency. FED technology will be focused on high-end display application for future development. Apart from OLED, AUO expects that FED technology will be a new application option in the flat display industry.

"Being a total solutions provider of display applications, AUO is dedicated to developing all kinds of display technologies for offering customers more application solutions. FED technology will be an appropriate fit especially for the high-end market needs such as medical or broadcast displays," AUO's CEO and President, Dr. L. J. Chen, said, "Sony had been a leader in FED technology, and AUO also has committed itself to developing new technologies. With its successful cooperation with FET, AUO intends to utilize FET's resources of FED technology to commercialize products, which will hopefully benefit our customers and end consumers."

FED display is self light-emitting and has great contrast and low power consumption, with no motion blur and deeper color depth -- capable of 12bit gray level. With Sony and FET's efforts, FED technology and the possibility of its mass production have achieved a breakthrough. FED is intended to target high-end display applications.

The acquisition is a highlight for AUO's strategies of actively developing core technologies in advanced displays, thanks to the efforts and contribution of the Department of Industrial Technology of Taiwan's Ministry of Economic Affairs supporting Taiwanese companies in acquiring core industrial technologies. With the past two mergers in the display industry, AUO not only has gained large-scale production capacity, but has also aggressively dedicated itself to raising its technology level relevant to the company's future development.

The substance of the agreement includes patents, know-how, inventions, and equipment. Currently FET owns certain core technologies in the FED field. With the completion of the acquisition, AUO will hopefully become one of the few companies in the world that will be able to offer commercialized FED products.

Field Emission Technologies was founded in 2006. The credit crunch following the financial crisis forced it to abandon plans to turn a Pioneer Corp. plant into a base for mass-producing field emission displays. The company began liquidation proceedings last March.

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