Siltronic AG cast doubt on a planned US$5.3 billion takeover by GlobalWafers Co (環球晶圓), saying the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action’s feedback so far was opaque and offered no clear resolution on how to win approval for the deal.
During recent discussions, the companies did not receive any information as to whether and under which conditions a clearance for the takeover might be issued, the German company said in a regulatory filing on Friday following a news report on remedies the companies have offered.
In the ministry’s view “in this case, a mitigation agreement is apparently not suitable to mitigate concerns with respect to the transaction,” Siltronic said in the filing. “The transaction cannot be closed” if the ministry does not issue the clearance decision by Jan. 31.
Photo: Grace Hung, Taipei Times
GlobalWafers and Siltronic have reported offered a range of remedies to resolve antitrust concerns related to the deal.
Those include granting the German government special voting rights via a “golden share” as well as ways to undo the purchase of Munich-based Siltronic or sell key assets back to the country, said people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
“Our focus is now in Germany. We believe we have addressed all concerns raised there constructively and comprehensively,” GlobalWafers said in a statement. “This is an immensely beneficial transaction for Germany and Europe because it would secure much needed investment and know-how, and a very strong and reliable partner to Europe’s semiconductor industry.”
The ministry has been looking into the deal for more than a year.
“Investment review procedures often involve very complex issues and matters that require close scrutiny,” the ministry said in a statement earlier on Friday, adding that the time frame and requirements laid out in its foreign trade remain “valid” for the deal’s review.
Siltronic’s proposed sale to the Hsinchu City-based technology giant poses a first test for German Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck.
The Green party coleader has spent his first weeks in office mapping out bold plans to shift the country to renewable power.
The Siltronic deal offers a delicate array of challenges mixing Germany’s interests in maintaining control of future-oriented technologies along with sensitive geopolitical considerations.
The deal is politically sensitive because of heightened cross-strait tensions.
In the past, Germany has tried to avoid antagonizing Chinese authorities over Taiwan.
China has not yet granted regulatory approval for the deal — the only other approval still pending.
The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation is largely comfortable with the antitrust remedies proposed by the companies and could make a decision shortly, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month.
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