‘New’ Brooks Automation now includes Helix


CHELMSFORD, Mass. – In what president and CEO Edward Grady calls a “strategic combination,” Brooks Automation (www.brooks.com), which provides automation solutions for semiconductor manufacturing, has acquired vacuum-technology leader Helix Technology Corp. (www.helixtechnology.com).

Grady will remain president and CEO of the combined company, while current Helix president and CEO James Gentilcore will become president and chief operating officer of a newly created Semiconductor Products Group. The combined company will have corporate offices in Brooks’s Chelmsford facility.

Pending approval of stockholders from both companies, it is hoped the $454 million transaction can be finalized by the end of this year.

“The outsourcing trend in the [semiconductor] market,” says Grady, made the timing right for the two to join forces. “We have strengthened our leadership position in what we believe is the fastest-growing segment within tool automation-the vacuum modules and systems business.”

Gentilcore added, “Our customers were making it clear they want fewer critical supply partners.” The merger, and its timing, he said, “makes tremendous sense.”

Brooks’s automation hardware and software solutions, plus professional services, help semiconductor manufacturers fully manage wafer, reticle and data movement within the fab, with the goal of improving throughput and yield while reducing cost and time to market. Helix’s vacuum technology includes components and subsystems that are key to manufacturing of semiconductors, flat-panel displays, and data storage devices.

As the semiconductor equipment industry continues to consolidate, “it’s more critical than ever to have the size, scope and scale to compete,” Gentilcore adds.

Both companies believe the other brings complementary skills, technologies and product offerings to the merger, with little overlap.

Gentilcore says Helix’s worldwide mission has been to “leverage our service model from cryogenic vacuum systems to broader-based vacuum systems and eventually beyond-a strategy captured in the phrase, ‘across the fab and beyond’ our products. This combination [with Brooks] gets us there much faster than we could have done on a stand-alone basis.”

Helix, which Grady says has been “a valued supplier to Brooks for many years,” now gives Brooks an integrated platform that can “make us the vendor of choice for semi tool manufacturers.” Additionally, Grady notes, “The strong global service and support capabilities of the Helix organization will substantially increase Brooks’s abilities in that area.”


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