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24 Nov 06. The Carlyle Group is poised to acquire Taiwan’s Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, the world’s largest chip packaging and testing company, in a $6.4bn buyout that would set a new landmark in private equity deals in the technology industry. The acquisition, which is expected to close early next year, could help ASE win new orders from semiconductor companies recently acquired by private equity firms. Carlyle and ASE said on Friday that the US private equity group had submitted an indication of interest to ASE regarding a potential acquisition at T$39 a share, and that Jason Chang, ASE’s single largest shareholder and chairman, had already agreed to roll his 18.4 per cent stake into a Carlyle-controlled holding company that would own ASE. At T$39, the offer price represents a 10 per cent premium to ASE’s closing share price of T$35.50 on Friday, before news of Carlyle’s interest emerged. Carlyle said the deal could greatly enhance ASE’s market position, because other semiconductor firms in the group’s portfolio and even those owned by other private equity firms were likely to increase outsourcing volumes. ASE, which is also listed on the New York Stock Exchange, performs packaging and testing services for other chipmakers who do not want to run the capacity for these relatively labour-intensive final steps in the semiconductor manufacturing chain. Greg Zeluck, Carlyle’s managing director of Asia buyouts, said ASE was likely to win new outsourcing orders from Freescale, Motorola’s formerchipmaking unit, which Carlyle is also acquiring. Freescale is already one of ASE’s five largest customers, but also works with Amkor, its smaller rival. (Source: FT.com)

24 Nov 06. Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering) today announced that its US company, Vision Technologies Systems, Inc. (VTS), has acquired 49% of the common stock of 1699590 Ontario Inc for US$250 through its wholly-owned subsidiary, iDirect Inc (iDirect). In addition, iDirect has exercised its right to purchase 80,000 Class A non-voting preferred shares, at an exercise price of US$1.00 per share. 1699590 Ontario Inc will be renamed iDirect Canada Inc (iDirect Canada). The stake is being acquired from the company’s three founding shareholders, Mr John Clarke, Mr Aneesh Dalvi and Mr Michael Carter (Founders) who will retain 51% stake in the company. Consequent to this acquisition, iDirect Canada has now become an associated company of ST Engineering. These investment terms were arrived at between iDirect and the Founders on a willing buyer, willing seller basis, after negotiations between the parties. The acquisition is not expected to have any material impact on the consolidated earnings per share of ST Engineering for the current financial year. iDirect Canada has expertise in modem design and broadband IP transport down to the chip level design. This acquisition brings new capacity for research and development for the next generation remote Internet access system. The new organisation will provide iDirect additional resources to develop and integrate new transport technologies which will increase the platform’s network efficiency and flexibility. Canada also offers readily available engineering expertise with the right skill-sets in this sector as well as attractive development incentives provided by its government. (Source: ASD Network)

27 Nov 06. French Merger in Trouble Safran Group Struggles for Identity as Top Execs Quarrel. A bout of corporate bloodletting at Safran has left industry and analysts dismayed at the damage done to the image of the aircraft engines, equipment and telecommunications group, with criticism mounting at the French government’s inability to resolve a clash at the top of the company. Safran announced on Oct. 30 the surprise firing of Jacques Paccard as chief executive of the Sagem Defénse Securité (DS) division. The reason given was the unit’s €44m ($56m) first-half operating loss, compared with a €40m profit a y

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