Taiwan wafer maker bets US buy could bring breakthrough
TAIPEI/TOKYO — Taiwan’s GlobalWafers is looking to take on Japanese giants and fend off Chinese up-and-comers by becoming the world’s third-largest silicon wafer manufacturer through the acquisition of an American rival.The sixth-ranked producer of the semiconductor base material will pay $683 million for SunEdison Semiconductor, currently No. 4, under a deal announced Thursday. This will let GlobalWafers close in on such powerful Japanese companies as Shin-Etsu Chemical and Sumco, the market’s two top players, CEO Doris Hsu told a news conference in Taipei.The deal is expected to yield sizable synergies. The Taiwanese company’s expertise lies in making highly energy-efficient wafers, while SunEdison specializes in wafers for chips for high-performance devices. Few of their operations overlap, paving the way for efficient technological development, Hsu said.GlobalWafers and SunEdison together control roughly 17% of the silicon wafer market, according to Taiwanese media. Shin-Etsu Chemical and Sumco have an estimated combined share exceeding 50%, with each contributing about half. The acquisition thus puts the Japanese giants well within reach for the Taiwanese company.SunEdison will receive $12 per share in the acquisition — nearly an 80% premium on its average share price over the past 30 trading days. But the anticipated surgeA transient variation in the current and/or potential at a point in the circuit. in chip demand as everything from automobiles to infrastructure links up to the “internet of things” is seen making even that price worthwhile.