Semiconductor veteran confirms he’s part of a £300 million plan to buy the UK’s largest chip plant back off China

SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

Semiconductor veteran Ron Black, the former CEO of the U.K.’s Imagination Technologies which used to design chips for Apple, is among a consortium that is interested in buying the country’s largest chip plant back off Chinese-owned Nexperia.

The consortium’s existence was revealed by CNBC at the end of last month but it was unclear who was involved.

Nexperia, owned by Shanghai-based Wingtech Technologies, announced it was acquiring the Wales-based Newport Wafer Fab at the start of July for £63 million ($87 million).

However, the U.K. government is currently reviewing the deal on national security grounds, and there’s a possibility that it could be unwound.

Black, who led U.S.-listed semiconductor firm Rambus for six years before moving to Imagination Technologies, told CNBC on Tuesday that his consortium could step in and take over Newport Wafer Fab if the deal is blocked, adding that it has £300 million to invest in the facility.

He said the consortium includes three semiconductor businesses and three financial sponsors, but he declined to specify who they are.

“We’re not making a competing bid,” Black said. “The deal has already been closed. Whether it remains closed, that’s the question that everybody wonders.”

He said the consortium is yet to even meet with Nexperia or Newport Wafer Fab to discuss a potential deal. “There’s no need to make any offer today until we know what’s going on,” Black explained, adding that the group wants to be seen as a “white knight” as opposed to an antagonist.

U.K. Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng initially approved the transaction but U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered national security advisor Stephen Lovegrove to review it after some lawmakers said the takeover raised national security concerns given the growing geopolitical importance of the semiconductor industry.

An official verdict on the deal is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

Nexperia and Newport Wafer Fab did not immediately respond to a CNBC request for comment.

Chinese semiconductor takeovers

Source link

Related Articles

Back to top button