Synaptics Said Closer to Deal With China-Backed Investor

  • Technology company rejected $110/shr bid from suitor last year
  • Deal said to be possible in early March after Chinese New Year

Synaptics Inc., the maker of touch-screen technology used in mobile devices and computers, is nearing an agreement to be bought by a state-backed Chinese investment group that values the company at more than $110 per share, according to people familiar with the matter.

A deal could be reached in early March after the Chinese New Year, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the negotiations are private. Synaptics, based in San Jose, California, rejected a $110-per-share offer last year, a 70 percent premium to where the company was trading at the time.

Talks with the Chinese group have continued in recent months, and Synaptics is ironing out details of a transaction valuing the company at about $4 billion, the people said. No final agreement has been made and talks may still fall apart, they said.

An offer at the same price would reflect an almost 80 percent premium to the company’s closing price Tuesday of $62.05. Synaptics jumped 27 percent to $78.55 at the close in New York, reversing earlier losses and giving the company a market value of about $2.8 billion.

Samsung Supplier

Samsung Electronics Co. is Synaptics’s largest customer, according to Bloomberg supply-chain analysis. Synaptics also supplies Apple Inc.

Synaptics doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation, Chief Executive Officer Rick Bergman said when reached by e-mail.

Chinese buyers have targeted U.S. semiconductor companies to improve the country’s domestic technology. The country buys more than half the semiconductors sold each year, and its share is growing. Yet the nation doesn’t have one domestic manufacturer among the 10 biggest chipmakers, a list stacked with U.S. companies.

China Resources Microelectronics Ltd. and Hua Capital Management trumped a bid from On Semiconductor Corp. for San Jose, California-based Fairchild Semiconductor International Inc. earlier this month. Hua Capital also led an acquisition of Santa Clara, California-based OmniVision Technologies Inc. last year for $1.9 billion.

An offer for Synaptics from a Chinese buyer may require approval from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. in order for a deal to pass regulatory scrutiny.

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