Jul 1, 2019

Applied Materials to buy Japanese chipmaker Kokusai Electric for $2.2 billion

Applied Materials agreed to buy Japanese chip-making equipment company Kokusai Electric from KKR for around $2.2 billion in cash.

Why it matters: It reflects the secondary deal effects of consolidation, as rampant chipmaker mergers have put pressure on suppliers like Applied Materials to also supersize. It also comes three years after Applied Materials was blocked by U.S. regulators from buying another Japanese chip company, Tokyo Electron, and on the same day that chip stocks are surging on President Trump's policy reversal on Huawei.

  • ROI: KKR paid around $2.2 billion in 2017 to buy Hitachi Kokusai, which essentially included two different companies. One of them is being sold in this deal, while KKR continues to own the other (which makes video and communications equipment).

The bottom line: "The acquisition will expand Applied Materials' product lineup at a time when the semiconductor industry is racing to develop more advanced chips for applications including 5G networks and artificial intelligence... The U.S. company's market share is expected to rise to more than 20% from 18% after the acquisition," writes Nikkei, which first broke the deal news.

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