Plans by US private equity firm Carlyle Group to buy Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (ASE, 日月光半導體), the world's largest chip testing and packaging company, are unlikely to face government opposition, Taiwanese commentators said yesterday.
Carlyle and ASE announced late on Friday that the Washington-based investment group was offering to buy 100 percent of the chip firm for NT$179 billion (US$5.46 billion).
The company's ADRs soared on news of the offer, up 80 cents or 15.2 percent to end at US$6.06 on the New York Stock Exchange.
ASE and other chip packagers cut silicon wafers into individual chips, assemble the chips into finished products and test them for reliability.
The government welcomed the announcement as a sign of faith in the nation's investment climate.
"We hope everyone [understands] that the basis for Taiwan's whole economic system is very good," Premier Su Tseng-chang (
ASE's chairman and chief executive Jason Chang (張虔生) has agreed to roll his shares and those owned by his holding company, ASE Enterprises Ltd, into another holding company formed by the investor group, ASE and Carlyle said. Chang and ASE Enterprises together own about 18.4 percent of ASE shares.
ASE shareholders are expected to discuss the offer at a meeting next week, company officials said, without elaborating.
Local newspaper commentators saw the deal as an indictment of government limits on investments in rival China.
Reluctant to let its economy become too dependent on China, Taipei has maintained restrictions on the levels of technology and amounts of capital Taiwanese companies can invest in China.
If ASE becomes part of a US-based investment group, the restrictions will not apply to its businesses, Taiwanese newspapers the Commercial Times and the Economic Daily News wrote yesterday.
Neither ASE nor Carlyle were available for comment on the issue yesterday.