April 24, 2001 – Washington, D.C. – The US Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States has apparently completed its 45-day investigation on the proposed sale of the Silicon Valley Group Inc. to Netherlands-based ASM Lithography Holding N.V.
Consistent with the requirements of the Exon-Florio Act, the Committee will send its recommendation on whether or not to approve the merger to President George W. Bush. The Exon-Florio act mandates a presidential decision within 15 days.
The recommendation of the Committee is confidential, according to a spokesperson for ASML.
Senior Pentagon officials reportedly met with SVG executives earlier this month and are understood to have agreed that export controls negotiated with the companies are sufficient to dispel critics’ concerns that the deal would put vital defense technologies in foreign hands.
Those critics apparently include a US business group that has circulated a videotape asserting that the sale would compromise national security and artificially increase prices for extreme ultraviolet lithography technology.
Six hundred and fifty copies of the tape, titled “Why The Sale of SVG Co. Is Bad for the United States,” were reportedly sent to congressional leaders and government officials. Ultratech Stepper CTO David Markle apparently warns in the tape that if the sale goes through, ASML will have a monopoly on EUV tools. If the sale does go through, ASML will surpass Nikon Corp. as the world’s large photolithography equipment house.