Saturday, December 3, 2016

Aixtron: Obama stops Acquisition by the Chinese Investor – Handelsblatt

The Logo of Aixtron SE headquarters Herzogenrath

Finally: The German Chip company should not be sold it to the Chinese. The US does not want it.

(photo: Reuters)

WashingtonUS President Barack Obama has the Acquisition of German chip equipment manufacturer Aixtron by a Chinese Investor, for security reasons, prohibited. Obama had issued a related order, informed the Ministry of Finance on Friday in Washington. In years of loss-making companies now jobs could be eliminated. Experts doubt that Aixtron can independently survive.

The Chinese Fujian Grand Chip Investment wanted to spend 676 million euros for the company from Herzogenrath, has 700 employees. Aixtron want to draw as a financially strong Partner on Land to get money for research and development as well as expansion abroad. In addition, it is hoped access to the multi-billion dollar Chinese market, on the American competitors such as Veeco or Applied Materials frolicking.

The present decision, Obama refers only to the US business by Aixtron. A company spokesman, however, had declared only on Friday, when Obama burst on the Acquisition saying, “the transaction in its current Form”. The Finance Ministry justified the decision with the national security of the United States. The expertise and experience of Aixtron can also be used for military equipment. Specifically, it seems to be a secret process for the manufacture of gallium nitride, which comes about in the modernization of the missile defense system Patriot.

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The rejection of Obama was no Surprise, because already the US government had recommended to the Committee, CFIUS, prohibiting the Acquisition. Against the wind, Aixtron also got from Germany: in the Middle of the current bid procedure, Federal Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel withdrew in October, a clearance certificate and announced an intensive audit. This course independent of the US-decision, stressed a spokesman of the Ministry.

Barack Obama has only right, therefore, a decisive voice, because the German company has a subsidiary in California’s Silicon Valley. Without American Know-How from the Valley, the Chinese do not want to buy Aixtron. They had already made clear. A sale of the US activities would therefore have been no solution. Aixtron in Germany has about 750 Employees in the United States, there are around a hundred employees at one location in California.

It is only the third Time since 1990 that a U.S. President of a company that prevents a takeover by a foreign Investor due to safety concerns. An Aixtron speaker wanted to make, on request, first of all, no comment on the decision. The Chinese side had advertised to last for the Takeover. This was a normal merger of companies and have purely economic motives, it said.


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