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Universal Display acquires Merck’s OLED emitter intellectual property

04 May 2023

UDC also announces improved first quarter results – in line with expectations.

Universal Display Corp. (“UDC”) has announced that through its wholly-owned subsidiary UDC Ireland, the company has acquired the phosphorescent OLED emitter intellectual property (IP) assets of electronics, life sciences, and healthcare group Merck, based in Darmstadt, Germany. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

UMD commented, “Representing more than 15 years of research and development, this portfolio has an average lifetime of 10 years and includes over 550 issued and pending patents around the world in 172 patent families.”

In addition, the two firms have entered into a new multi-year collaboration agreement involving UDC’s green and yellow phosphorescent emitters and Merck’s transport and host materials, with the aim of creating what they describe as “advanced PHOLED stacks”.

Steven Abramson, President and CEO of UMD, commented, “We are pleased to complement and boost our vast global IP framework with Merck’s phosphorescent emitter patents and announce the extension and expansion of our OLED materials partnership.

“This strategic acquisition enhances our robust position in the OLED ecosystem. As the pioneer and leader in phosphorescent OLED technologies and materials, we are well situated to leverage Merck’s discoveries into our extensive research and intellectual property portfolios.”

Dr. Gottfried Wastlbauer, Head of Global Marketing of Display Solutions at the Electronics business of Merck, said, “This portfolio represents the culmination of years of research and we are pleased that UDC will incorporate our inventions into their worldwide patent portfolio.

“We believe that our triplet emitter IP and know-how fits seamlessly into UDC’s comprehensive intellectual property library and that these assets will be well maximized in their research and development programs. The new partnership with UDC is a strategic move towards accelerating the growth of our OLED business.”

UDC announces Q1 2023 financials

Simultaneous with its announcement about the Merck deal, UDC reported its financial results for the first quarter, which ended March 31, 2023.

“Our first quarter results were in line with our expectations and we are reaffirming our full year 2023 outlook,” said Brian Millard, Vice President and CFO at UDC. “While macro uncertainties continue to linger, we believe that recent OLED investment and product announcements pave the path for a new OLED adoption cycle and strong growth in the coming years.”

He added, “The acquisition of Merck’s phosphorescent emitter patent portfolio, which further strengthens our leadership position in the OLED ecosystem and broadens the tools available to our team as we develop new and next-generation phosphorescent materials.”

Turning to its 2023 guidance, Universal Display reiterated its previous quarter's forecast: “The company affirms its previous revenue guidance and believes that 2023 revenue will be the range of $550 million to $600 million.”

UDC’s financial highlights for Q1, 2023

  • Total revenue in Q1, 2023, was $130.5 million ($150.5 million in Q1, 2022).
  • Revenue from material sales was $70.2 million in Q1, 2023 ($86.7 million). This decrease was primarily the result of lower unit material volume.
  • Revenue from royalty and license fees was $55.2 million in Q1, 2023 ($59.8 million). This decrease was primarily the result of lower unit material volume.
  • Operating income was $45.4 million in Q1, 2023 ($62.3 million).
  • Net income was $39.8 million ($50.0 million).

Iridian Spectral TechnologiesHÜBNER PhotonicsLaCroix Precision OpticsTRIOPTICS GmbHCHROMA TECHNOLOGY CORP.CeNing Optics Co LtdMad City Labs, Inc.
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