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ASM Lithography gets approval to buy Silicon Valley Group

17 Jun 2002

US government security concerns regarding the merger of the Dutch lithography company with the US wafer processing outfit have now been resolved.

ASM Lithography (ASML) in the Netherlands and Silicon Valley Group (SVG) in the US have reached an agreement with the US Government's Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) to proceed with their previously announced merger.

The agreement was reached under the provisions of the Exon-Florio Amendment, which is the review process that the US government uses to screen acquisitions of US companies, such as SVG by foreign companies such as ASML. An Exon-Florio review is intended to "provide a safe harbor for the transaction from any US governmental interference based on national security concerns" - which arise, in this case, because a subsidiary of SVG, Tinsley Laboratories, performs some US defence-related work. Tinsley's expertise lies in optical polishing - it also undertook some work on the Hubble Telescope to help to correct its mirror failure.

As part of the agreement, ASML has six months in which to explore strategic alternatives with regard to Tinsley Laboratories, including making a "good-faith effort" to sell it or, in the absence of a sale, operating it according to a set of CFIUS restrictions. Tinsley reported revenues of approximately USD 17 million in the 2000 financial year, representing approximately 2% of SVG's total revenues.

Doug Dunn, CEO of ASML, said: "We are very pleased that the US government has cleared the way for our two companies to merge and that we have reached a solid agreement that…allows ASML and SVG to proceed forward and provide leading-edge lithography equipment to the semiconductor industry."

The new company will have a combined workforce of about 7500 people, of whom around half will be employed in the US.

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