AlliedSignal acquires minienvironment manufacturer
By Christine Lunday
Sunnyvale, CA — AlliedSignal Electronic Materials (ASEM/Sunnyvale, CA) has acquired privately held Clean Link Inc., a three-year old minienvironment designer, manufacturer and supplier based in San Jose, CA. Under the acquisition, Clean Link will become part of ASEM`s wafer fabrication group, joining the company`s existing microelectronic materials and electron vision businesses. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Clean Link co-founder Jeff Miller, 39, says the deal with AlliedSignal will give his firm the resources necessary to compete worldwide. “To be considered a real player, we have to be strong enough to support [customers] globally.”
Currently, the firm has about 35 employees, and is eyeing somewhere between $6 million and $7 million in revenue this year. In its first year, Clean Link did about $300,000 in business; in the second year $3 million, Miller says.
With the backing of ASEM, Clean Link has a goal of becoming the minienvironment vendor of choice, and will be establishing facilities worldwide to support its growth, though a new business plan under ASEM still must be outlined. Miller expects to compete directly with Jenoptik and other main players in the sector.
“We`re up to it. We`ve been fairly successful competing with them,” he says, differentiating Clean Link as offering cleaner, more robust minienvironment systems at a lower cost. In addition, Clean Link has worked to deliver systems in about six to eight weeks, about half the time of its competitors. “It`s been a task to maintain that for sure,” he says. “From the beginning we`ve always seemed to be more innovative.”
Clean Link saw its beginnings three years ago, when Miller, then a self-employed cleanroom installation contractor, and Randy LeClaire, a contamination control expert, founded the firm. Since then, the business has operated on self-generated funds and sales, and comes to the AlliedSignal conglomerate with “very little debt,” Miller says.
Clean Link was not seeking an acquisition, he notes; the company had already turned down another acquisition offer prior to ASEM`s bid. Discussions with ASEM were held for almost a year before the deal was finalized.
Miller will remain with Clean Link under the ASEM umbrella. Though details about his role have not been worked out, Miller says he is involved in many facets of the business, including marketing and sales. LeClaire is director of sales and will also remain with the firm. Bill McGeever, who joined Clean Link about a year ago, will continue in his role as general manager.
Reprinted from WaferNews, a weekly newsletter published by PennWell covering the semiconductor equipment and materials community. For information on subscriptions, check the web at www.wafernews.com, or contact Jill Wood at 603/891-9174, fax 603/891-0597, or e-mail [email protected].