Netherlands-based, Nasdaq-listed NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) has stitched up yet another asset transfer to China's state-owned Beijing Jianguang Asset Management., or JAC Capital.
JAC Capital has teamed up with China's Wise Road Capital to buy NXP's standard products business for about $2.75 billion in an all-cash deal.
NXPI is a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS charitable portfolio. Portfolio manager Cramer and director of research Jack Mohr on Tuesday welcomed the sale.
"It would allow NXP to pay down most of its existing debt, exit a commoditized business and narrow its focus on higher-growth, higher-margin and higher-quality markets where it has dominant share and out-innovates competition, with relative market share more than 1.5x the next largest competitor," wrote Cramer and Mohr. "In essence, NXP is selling low-tech to concentrate on high-tech."
The agreement, announced Tuesday, comes after NXP last year sold its RF radio frequency unit to JAC Capital in a $1.8 billion deal that helped NXP win regulatory approval for its mega-merger with Freescale Semiconductor (FSL) .
"The idea is to get out of anything commodity. NXPI unloaded its commodity chips to the Chinese," said Cramer. "Frankly, they bought Freescale [and] they want to get their balance sheet as perfect as it can be."
As of last November, NXP and JAC also have a bipolar power joint venture in China called WeEN that's 51% owned by the Chinese partner.
NXP Standard Products, which makes diodes and other standard chip products used in cars, phones and television sets, accounted for nearly a fifth of NXP's 2015 sales but was no longer seen as part of the company's core activities as it boosts its presence in connected cars, cyber security, portables and wearables - collectively known as high-performance mixed-signal electronics.
NXP shares were recently down $1.09, or 1.3%, at $86.31. Cramer and Mohr have a price target of $110 for the stock.
"NXPI is a core holding largely because what they been doing is more and more valuable," said Cramer adding that NXP would be an attractive takeout target for a company like Intel (INTC) . "Does [Intel] need to by NXPI, yes they should but no they wont."
After the deal is completed, NXP Standard Products is to be rechristened Nexperia. It will be based in the Dutch city of Nijmegen, and led by Frans Scheper, the current head of the standard products unit.
Post-divestment, "NXP will have taken another step in becoming a focused HPMS company," said NXP CEO Rick Clemmer said during a conference call.
He added that that the new owners will invest in the company, but gave no figure.
But he admitted that it may take some time to close the deal, which he said would "no sooner" than the first quarter of 2017 as it goes through regulatory vetting by agencies including the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the European Commission, and China's Ministry of Commerce, or Mofcom.
Should everything go smoothly and the deal come to fruition, the new owners would get a major semiconductor operation in Europe with $1.2 billion in 2015 sales, 11,000 employees along with manufacturing facilities in England, Germany, China, Malaysia and the Philippines.
The transfer also includes all relevant patents and intellectual property rights associated with the business and its in-house equipment maker known as Itec.
"JAC Capital, with its strong background in financial industries and many years of experience in the semiconductor and telecom areas, will actively help the management of the company to achieve long-term success," said Brighten Li, chairman of JAC Capital's investment evaluation committee, in a statement.
Michael Zhang, managing partner of Wise Road Capital, added that Nexperia will be looking to increase its focus on automotive applications and boost its strong position in growing global emerging markets.
NXP took financial advice from Steven Geller, Ernie Ruehl and David Wah at Credit Suisse Group.
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