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Analytical chemistry giant Waters buys laser firm Wyatt for $1.4 billion…

16 Feb 2023

…and automotive technology developer Indie acquires video processor GEO Semiconductor for $180 million.

Analytical instruments giant Waters Corp. is to acquire Wyatt Technology, a developer of light scattering and field-flow fractionation instruments and software for $1.36 billion in cash. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2023, subject to approvals.

Bioanalytical characterization for new modalities including cell and gene therapies is a significant market opportunity, with a $1.8 billion total addressable market and 10-12% projected annual growth, according to Waters.

The company’s statement added, “By applying our established business model, our Empower informatics software, and scale, Waters and Wyatt are well-positioned to build a high-growth bioanalytical characterization business.”

Based in Santa Barbara, Ca., Wyatt is a privately-held family company with 2022 revenues of approximately $110 million. Since Wyatt's scientists were the first to commercialize on-line multi-angle laser light scattering instruments more than 40 years ago, Wyatt has been developing its macromolecular characterization instrumentation and services.

Dr. Udit Batra, President and CEO, Waters, said, “We are entering the next phase of our strategy to accelerate value creation and generate faster growth. While biologics therapies, including cell and gene therapies, can dramatically change the quality of life for a significant percentage of the population, the cost of delivering these therapies is a major barrier for broader adoption.”

Dr. Philip Wyatt, Chairman and Founder, added, “Becoming an integral part of Waters is a natural way for us to expand our business dramatically. Waters has the reach and scale to leverage Wyatt’s successful legacy and extend the benefits of our offerings to many new applications and customers.”

Waters is to fund this acquisition through cash on its balance sheet and existing borrowing capacity available on its revolving credit facility. The company will temporarily suspend its share repurchase program through the remainder of 2023.

Automotive tech developer Indie buying GEO Semiconductor for $180 million

Indie Semiconductor, an automotive technology systems manufacturer, based in Aliso Viejo, Ca., is to purchase GEO Semiconductor, a developer of video processors for automotive cameras, in a deal valued at $180 million.

The acquisition of GEO, a private fabless semiconductor supplier, will add scale to Indie’s image processing program and enable, what Indie calls “true sensor fusion of radar, lidar, ultrasound and computer vision in advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) applications.” The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions.

GEO’s camera-based sensing and viewing capabilities are shipping today to some of the world’s largest automotive OEMs including Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Nissan and Toyota. With design wins across more than 20 “Tier 1s” and 400 car models, GEO claims programs with “every major image sensor supplier in the world and is engaged in multiple EV and autonomous vehicle programs.”

Technology market analyst IHS is forecasting that 265 million camera electronic control units will be needed to support the global automotive market in 2023, set to grow to 430 million units by 2028 and creating an $8.5 billion total addressable semiconductor market.

Donald McClymont, indie’s co-founder and CEO, said, “Camera processing is at the core of the majority of use cases within ADAS applications. Indie’s acquisition of GEO immediately rounds out our computer vision portfolio with field-proven, differentiated solutions, enabling us to capitalize on the rapid proliferation of automotive image processors.”

He added, “Further, this acquisition completes our sensor fusion mosaic spanning radar, lidar, ultrasound and computer vision, bringing us a major step closer towards realizing our strategic vision of enabling the uncrashable car and creating an autotech powerhouse.”

Dave Orton, GEO’s president and CEO, said, “As a relatively small private company, GEO has made remarkable progress since our founding in 2009 and full pivot to automotive product development in 2015. Leveraging the Indie platform and its scalability, we can now unleash GEO’s full potential and offer leading Tier 1s and car OEMs unprecedented camera resolution, low latency, power efficiency and ultra-fast processing of image data for enhanced safety systems within next generation vehicles.”

Terms of the deal

Indie is to pay $180 million in the aggregate to GEO equity and debt holders at closing, comprising $90 million in cash plus approximately 12 million indie Class A common shares, based on a 20-day VWAP. In addition, if certain performance targets are exceeded over an 18-month post-closing period, there is an opportunity for such holders to earn up to $90 million more in equity.

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