Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron Refile for China Deal

Applied Materials Inc., the largest chipmaking-equipment supplier, refiled an application with China’s Ministry of Commerce seeking approval of its takeover of Tokyo Electron Ltd.

The two companies have refiled their merger notification “to allow additional time to engage in constructive dialogue with the Ministry of Commerce People’s Republic of China,” Applied Materials said in a U.S. regulatory filing today. “The parties continue to expect to close the transaction in the second half of 2014,” it said.

Applied Materials agreed in September to buy Tokyo Electron for $9.39 billion in stock to add scale as a shrinking base of clients makes earnings of suppliers more volatile. Intel Corp., Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and Samsung Electronics Co. now buy the majority of the production machines deployed by the industry and are the top three customers of both companies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

It’s not unusual for companies to refile approval applications to get more time for the review process, said Patrick Ho, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. in Dallas. Approval probably will come toward the end of the year, because of the size of the transaction, he said.

“I still believe the deal gets done,” said Ho, who recommends buying Applied Materials stock. “This is more to extend the time period for the review.”

The shares of Applied Materials rose less than 1 percent to $21.36 at the close in New York, leaving them up 21 percent this year. Tokyo Electron declined 2.7 percent to 6,613 yen at the close in Tokyo, the lowest since June 3.

The companies make machines that prepare silicon wafers for imprinting with the circuits that give chips the ability to process radio signals, crunch numbers and perform other tasks in everything from supercomputers to mobile phones.

Gary Dickerson, chief executive officer of Santa Clara, California-based Applied Materials, will lead the combined company, the companies said in September.

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