Axcelis, Sumitomo quietly back at M&A table

June 6, 2008 – Three months after squabbling over an unusually public unsolicited M&A proposal, Axcelis Technologies and its Japanese JV partner Sumitomo Heavy Industries apparently are back at the negotiating table, though the US firm cautions in a statement that no deal is imminent.

Back in February Sumitomo launched an unusually public proposal to acquire Axcelis, which was met with a stern rebuff. The two have since continued to go back-and-forth over the proposal in a similarly public fashion, with Sumitomo’s offer sweetened to $6/share (~$630M), also met with rejection — but at least Axcelis indicated signs of interest should the price be right. In the meantime, three ACLS board members’ resignations also have been tendered, but declined by the company.

Analysts previously speculated for WaferNEWS about such a proposed Axcelis/Sumitomo combination, for which many questions remain — e.g., proposed management structure (whether/how this includes the Japan JV operation, whether US-based Axcelis would be managed with domestic or Japanese leadership, etc), as well as how the combination would compete against and try to take share from market leader Varian Semi. Equip. Assoc.


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