October 11, 2006 – Lam Research Corp., Fremont, CA, has acquired the silicon growing and fabrication assets of privately held Bullen Ultrasonics, Eaton, OH, which produces critical silicon parts used in Lam’s dielectric etch chambers for approximately $175 million in cash.
“This transaction will enable us to secure a consistent supply of critical silicon materials essential to the performance of our etch chambers,” stated Steve Newberry, president and CEO of Lam Research.
Under terms of the agreement, Bullen’s silicon growing and fabrication business will operate out of its current location as “Bullen Semiconductor,” a division of Lam, supplying chamber-critical components for Lam tools as well as for other customers in the semiconductor industry. Core competencies will include silicon growing, ultrasonic impact grinding, and precision machining technology used in silicon material fabrication.
Bullen’s other assets, relating to machining and fabrication services for non-silicon hard, brittle materials for a variety of industries, will be continued as a separate entity independent of Lam.
According to information posted on Lam’s Web site, the two companies have partnered since 1991, and Lam accounts for the majority of Bullen’s revenue, which is <5% of Lam's total revenue (which was $525.6 million in Lam's fiscal 4Q06 ended in June). The company, which is "profitable," approached Lam for the proposed sale because the owners wanted to sell the business to gain liquidity; there were no other bidders.
Lam also indicated it will invest approximately $30 million in the Bullen business over the next 12 months due to certain capacity expansion plans, and expects $5-$7 million in annual capex for silicon growing and fabrication assets.