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Sharp announces global co-title sponsorship of leading pro-cycling team

London, 25.06.2012

Sharp Electronics Europe today announced a sponsorship agreement with one of the world’s top professional cycling teams, Team Garmin, as the world-leading technology provider continues to position its brand centre of the European stage. Owned and managed by Slipstream Sports, the team will become Garmin Sharp from the 2012 Tour de France, starting on June 30.

“In the year Sharp celebrates 100 years of creating unique technologies and products that bring genuine benefit to society, we are delighted to become co-title sponsor and Technology Partner for the most exciting team in one of the most beautiful and European of sports.” said Paul Molyneux, CEO for Sharp Europe. “Sharp has a strong focus on developing its brand presence both globally and here in Europe, and this offers us the opportunity to put ourselves in front of a significant new audience in all our key markets. Sharp is dedicated to its founding ideals of sincerity and creativity, and with their clear commitment to ethical innovation, Slipstream are the perfect fit.”

The partnership is part of Sharp’s global move to develop its presence in markets beyond its traditional stronghold of Japan, and particularly in Europe, which accounts for nearly a third of the Corporation’s overseas business. The company kicked off its new unified branding platform across Europe under the ‘This is Why’ tagline at the UEFA Euro 2012, where Sharp is a EuroTop sponsor. The new cycling sponsorship continues the brand’s celebration of its centennial year on a global stage, but offers Sharp in Europe the opportunity to develop key territories and new market areas, where its technological and manufacturing strengths can provide real benefit. It also builds on Sharp’s European association with cycling, which began through sponsorship in the UK’s leading domestic team, Rapha-Condor-Sharp, and race, The Tour of Britain.

“The rapidly-growing consumer Health and Wellness market offers tremendous potential for Sharp and with this team and the partners involved, we have a world-class platform to develop real technological benefit in a highly-focused, performance-based environment.” said Herman Karabetyan, VP Marketing for Sharp Europe. “Cycling perfectly showcases the convergence of technological and human achievement, in a way which deeply resonates with Sharp’s central principal of delivering technology that is always guided by human need. We will challenge ourselves to use new and existing Sharp technology to help this amazing group of athletes go faster, recover quicker and continue their inspiring journey to the top of their sport, looking to create new products that help people live in a healthier, more enjoyable way. With 9 European nationalities represented in the team, and a race program of over 225 days in 14 different European countries, this is a truly pan-European platform for us to demonstrate and deepen Sharp’s commitment to understanding and meeting the specific needs of Europeans.”

Since the establishment of its UCI professional team in 2007, Slipstream has held firm to its clear mission to race hard but race ethically above all else. As such, they were the first team to introduce a fully-transparent anti-doping program, and have pinned their recent great successes on the development and focused use of leading-edge technology, training and diet. In 2011, the team had their most successful year to date, including 4 stage wins, 7 days in the yellow jersey and overall Best Team at The Tour de France. In 2012, they have already gone one better, with the team’s first General Classification winner in a major stage race, with Ryder Hejsedal winning the Giro d’Italia.

In addition to collaborating with the team on new technology, Sharp will also outfit the team with its leading AQUOS LCD screens, audio products, solar panels, air purification systems, microwave and steam cooking equipment, refrigerators and multifunction printing devices.

“Sharp shares our passion and commitment to the best innovations in technology,” said Jonathan Vaughters, CEO of Slipstream Sports. “We are incredibly excited to partner with them to together develop technologies that will help our riders do what they do every day, even better. Working with the team provides Sharp access to some of the best athletes in the world to develop products for the future.”

Additional information on Sharp’s sponsorship, including the first unveiling of the new team kit, will be revealed on Thursday, June 28th at 10am at a Tour de France press conference at the Eurotel in Lanaken, Belgium - 264 Koning Albertlaan. For press conference details, please contact Marya Pongrace at Marya.pongrace@slipstreamsports.com.

About Slipstream

Slipstream Sports, is dedicated to promoting ethical sporting and developing the next generation of cycling champions. Team Garmin-Sharp competes in a full schedule of professional cycling races across the world. Additional information is available at http://www.slipstreamsports.com/.

About Sharp

Sharp is a leader in the research and development of high-quality technological products. The Japanese electronics company’s consumer electronics range extends from LCD TVs and audio systems to white goods (e.g. fridges and microwaves) and on to air purifiers which ensure a perfect room climate. New developments such as the Steamwave (3-in-1 steam oven), Quattron technology in LCD TVs and plasma-cluster ion technology used in white goods underline the company’s innovation leadership claim. In addition, the corporate environmental strategy is one of the core items in its philosophy and is central to the development and manufacture of all products. Our resource-friendly raw materials, low energy consumption and good recyclability are state-of-the-art.