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Another Week, Another Chinese Bid for a European Tech Firm

Aixtron's AIX G5+ reactor, used in the semiconductor manufacturing industry.Aixtron's AIX G5+ reactor, used in the semiconductor manufacturing industry.
Aixtron's AIX G5+ reactor, used in the semiconductor manufacturing industry.Photograph by Aixtron

The German semiconductor firm Aixtron, which has offices in Germany, the U.K., and the U.S., is the target of a takeover bid by a subsidiary of China’s Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund.

Aixtron makes equipment for the manufacture of products such as LED lights and photovoltaic materials as well as graphene, the wonder material that has many potential applications in tech.

Grand Chip Investment said it wanted the German firm to keep going on this path—but also to beef up its technology and intellectual property portfolio.

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The takeover values Aixtron at €670 million ($750 million), representing a 50.7% premium to the three-month volume weighted average share price before the announcement.

Aixtron has not been doing so well lately, with its first quarter results revealing a 47% year-on-year drop in revenues and 65% drop in profits—although its annual revenues over the last few years have shown a consistent, if small, improvement.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, DZ Bank said the takeover bid would be “kind of a relief” for Aixtron. The minimum acceptance threshold for the bid is 60% of the company’s outstanding shares.

Aixtron’s share price jumped just over 15% on the news.

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Just last week, the Chinese home appliance maker Midea (owned by growing giant Xiaomi) launched a bid for Germany’s Kuka, a manufacturer of industrial robots and factory automation systems. A Chinese tech consortium is also trying to buy the Norwegian browser firm Opera. Tuesday is the deadline for that one with shareholder approval still not quite at the 90% minimum threshold.