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Brooks Automation Stock Jumps on Plan to Sell Chip Solutions Unit for $3B

Brooks Automation is selling its chip solutions group and said it would no longer pursue splitting into two companies.
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Brooks Automation  (BRKS) - Get Brooks Automation, Inc. Report shares firmed on Monday after it agreed to sell its semiconductors-solutions unit to the Boston private-equity titan Thomas H. Lee Partners for $3 billion cash.

In addition, the Chelmsford, Mass., company, which also has a biotechnology division, said it would no longer pursue a separation into two independent and publicly traded companies. It had proposed that plan in May 2021.

“Following completion of the sale, expected in first half of 2022, the semiconductor automation business will transition to the ownership of [Lee] along with the Brooks Automation name and brand,” the company said

“The remaining life sciences business will then operate as a stand-alone publicly traded life sciences company, under a new name to be announced in the near future.”

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Brooks Automation shares recently traded at $100.58, up 6.8%, while the Nasdaq Composite shed 2%. The stock in late April touched a 52-week high $108.72.

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The semiconductor unit reported $613 million of revenue in the year ended June 30, 2021. 

The purchase price is subject to adjustments for working capital and other items. The deal is subject to conditions including regulatory clearances.

The business provides high-precision, high-throughput vacuum robots and systems as well as contamination control solutions to the global semiconductor capital equipment industry.

In other technology news, last week, Bank of America downgraded semiconductor makers Cree  (CREE) - Get Cree, Inc. Report and Cirrus Logic  (CRUS) - Get Cirrus Logic, Inc. Report to underperform from neutral.

“CREE holds a unique portfolio of silicon carbide and gallium nitride assets supporting high-growth opportunities in electric-vehicle and 5G base stations,” Bank of America analysts wrote.

But they listed several areas of concern, including, “gross-margin pressure as CREE is impacted by higher cost of old [fabrication plants] as new fabs ramp.”