Advantest Corp., the world’s biggest maker of machines used to test memory chips, bid $729 million for Verigy Ltd. to expand its product line-up, in a deal that would be the Japanese company’s biggest in more than a decade.
Advantest offered $12.15 a share, a 33 percent premium over the closing price on Dec. 3, for the company’s 60 million outstanding shares, according to a statement from Verigy. Verigy rejected the unsolicited offer and was open to continued talks, the Singapore-based company said.
The proposal pits Advantest against LTX-Credence Corp. in a bidding war for a company that makes testing gear for logic devices and the flash memory chips that store songs and photos in products such as Apple Inc.’s iPhone. The acquisition would help Tokyo-based Advantest, which has lost money in each of the past two fiscal years, reduce its reliance on computer memory.
“This is a good idea,” said Tetsuya Wadaki, a Tokyo-based analyst at Nomura Securities Co. who has a “reduce” rating on Advantest’s shares. “There isn’t much potential for growth in the PC memory market that Advantest has focused on.”
Advantest rose 3.9 percent to 1,870 yen, set for the highest closing price since Aug. 6, as of the 11 a.m. break on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Verigy surged 42 percent yesterday on the Nasdaq Stock Market, the biggest jump since shares were sold to the public in June 2006. LTX, based in Milpitas, California, dropped 12 percent, the most since October 2009.
The proposed deal is about five times the $143 million average of 411 overseas acquisitions announced by Japanese companies this year. It would also be Advantest’s largest acquisition since at least 1998, when Bloomberg started collecting comparable data.
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