June 26, 2008 – Just weeks after fending off one investor’s renewed attempt at a takeover, Asyst Technologies finds itself pursued by yet another that seeks to replace board directors and then sell the company at auction.
In a terse statement, Asyst acknowledge that it has received an offer from Riley Investment Partners Master Fund LP, a hedge fund that claims to own 2.6% of the company’s outstanding shares. The firm proposed to nominate six directors for election at Asyst’s annual meeting in mid-September to gain control and then sell the company at an auction. Asyst said it is “reviewing the notice” but offered no other details.
Riley currently has seated board members at other semiconductor industry firms including Alliance Semiconductor and Integrated Silicon Solution. According to SEC documents Riley also has invested in, and attempted similar board nominations at, Transmeta, Silicon Storage Technology, and Zilog.
Earlier this year Asyst and another proposed suitor confirmed rumors that Asyst had secretly received and turned down an unsolicited bid to take the company private. Gores Group and automation systems firm Aquest Systems (including the founder/former CEO of Asyst, Mihir Parikh), later publicly broadcasted a letter to Asyst shareholders. Gores had been rejected in two previous buyout attempts.
Despite fending off the Gores/Aquest proposal, Asyst has indicated it’s not entirely opposed to a deal. In its fiscal 4Q08 financials conference call last month, chairman/president/CEO Steve Schwartz reiterated the company’s position that the Gores offer of $5-$6/share “were far below what we deem to be a reasonable offer,” but added that “we do have a pretty significant strategic plan with valuation considerably higher than that.”