Nov. 21, 2001 – Veldhoven, Netherlands – ASM Lithography NV (ASML) said it will not be able to sell its Tinsley Laboratories unit — acquired when the Dutch company bought Silicon Valley Group this spring — by a Nov. 22 target date set by US government officials.
Only a few weeks ago, Doug Marsh, VP of business integration and US institutional IR at ASML, told WaferNews that he believes that ASML was still in line with the end of November deadline. “We’ve basically gone through four steps of determining who the right buyer might be. [We’ve] received bids from those buyers and are evaluating those as we speak.”
“The sale process is on track,” ASML spokesman Tom McGuire told the Dow Jones news agency. “We have been in the process of making a good faith effort to sell Tinsley for six months, and that effort continues.”
ASML purchased Tinsley as part of its $1.6 billion acquisition of Silicon Valley Group on May 22. In order to gain US approval for the deal from a high-level panel called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, ASML had promised to do its best to dispose of Tinsley within six months.
The purchase of Tinsley, a lens-polishing operation employing 60 engineers and with annual sales of around $17 million, by a foreign company was seen by some defense experts as controversial, despite the Netherlands’ good relationship with the US.
Tinsley’s lens polishing capabilities have potentially sensitive military applications in making satellites, high-power reconnaissance lenses or missile tracking systems, sparking concerns from the US Department of Defense.
McGuire said that the deal “will happen,” and that Tinsley “will eventually be sold,” something not strictly required by the eventual agreement ASML reached with the US government.
ASML has said it has narrowed the list of potential candidates for Tinsley to a few serious ones, and continues negotiations with those.
Among companies frequently named as possible acquirers are Eastman Kodak Co., Hughes Aircraft, TRW Corp., and Ball Corp., though ASML would not comment on the talks or any potential buyers.