Consolidation seems to be the new strategy among the semiconductor companies. It makes sense, given how companies with tons of cash and little growth can immediately look revived with one key acquisition. It would seem this is the line of thinking for Lam Research (LRCX) - Get Lam Research Corporation Report , which recently announced a $10.6 billion deal for rival KLA-Tencor (KLAC) - Get KLA Corporation Report .
Headquartered in Fremont, Calif., shares of Lam Research are scheduled to trade ex-dividend Monday, Dec. 7. Investors would do well to buy these shares now and profit from the growth and competitive advantages a combined Lam/KLA may realize. To qualify for a dividend payment, investors must own LRCX shares on or before its ex-date -- the last day the company will finalize its roster of shareholders to whom it will mail payments.
Investors of record as of Wednesday, Dec. 9 will receive Lam's 30-cent quarterly payout on Jan. 6, 2016. This will mark the fourth consecutive quarter Lam has made the same 30-cent payment, which it has raised 66% since March 2015, from 18 cents a share. With its shares trading at around $77, its dividend yields about 1.5% annually -- some 50 basis points below the 2.00% yield paid out by the average stock in the in the S&P 500 (SPX) index.
Lam's yield is not breathtaking, but ahead of its ex-dividend date, there's an implied 20% gain on these shares, which have a consensus buy rating and an average analyst 12-month price target of $93, or $16 higher than where LRCX stock trades today. And if LRCX reaches its high target of $105, the implied gain is almost 36%. Analysts' confidence in the shares could have a lot to do with Lam's announced acquisition of KLA-Tencor.
The deal "combines Lam's best-in-class capabilities in deposition, etch, and clean with KLA-Tencor's leadership in inspection and metrology," the press release noted. These services are used by prominent chip companies, including Intel (INTC) - Get Intel Corporation Report , AMD (AMD) - Get Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Report and Texas Instrument (TXN) - Get Texas Instruments Incorporated Report .
And not only will the combined company serve some 42% of the wafer fabrication equipment market (upon closing of the deal), annualized cost synergies are expected to reach some $250 million within the first two years. So with Lam shares trading at just 12 times fiscal 2016 estimates of $6.06 a share -- five points lower than the forward P/E of the S&P 500 -- buying its dividend now makes sense, especially when one can profit from its future growth.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.