Intel, Tower Terminate Proposed $5.4 Billion Deal After Failing to Get Regulatory Approvals



Intel and Israeli contract chipmaker Tower Semiconductor’s proposed $5.4 billion (roughly Rs. 44,919 crore) deal has been mutually terminated as they were unable to get timely regulatory approvals, the companies said on Wednesday.

Shares of the Israeli company fell about 9 percent in the United States as well as Tel Aviv.

Intel, which had decided to buy Tower last year, will pay a termination fee of $353 million (roughly Rs. 2,936 crore) to the latter, the company said in a statement.

Tower and Intel did not provide details on the regulatory approvals.

Reuters reported late on Tuesday that Intel would drop the deal once their contract expired without regulatory approval from China.

“After careful consideration and thorough discussions and having received no indications regarding certain required regulatory approval, both parties have agreed to terminate their merger agreement having passed August 15, 2023, outside date,” Tower Semiconductor said in a statement.

The development underscores how tensions between the United States and China over issues including trade, intellectual property, and the future of Taiwan are spilling over into corporate dealmaking, especially when it comes to technology companies.

Last year, DuPont De Nemours scrapped its $5.2 billion (roughly Rs. 43,274 crore) deal to buy electronics materials maker Rogers Corp after delays in securing approval from Chinese regulators.

Intel Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger had said he was trying to get the Tower deal approved by Chinese regulators and had visited the country as recently as last month to meet with government officials.

But Gelsinger also said Intel was investing in its foundry business, which makes chips for other companies, irrespective of the Tower deal. 

In June, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Intel had agreed to spend $25 billion (roughly Rs. 2,08,002 crore) on a new factory in Israel, the largest-ever international investment in the country.

Investors had given up hope on the Tower deal as a result. Tower’s Nasdaq-listed shares ended trading at $33.78 (roughly Rs. 2,800) on Tuesday, a steep discount from the $53 (roughly Rs. 4,400) per share deal price.

In the second quarter, Intel’s foundry business reported revenue of $232 million (roughly Rs. 1,930 crore), up from $57 million (roughly Rs. 474 crore) a year earlier, as it made advances on rivals such as industry leader Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

The rise in foundry sales came from “advanced packaging,” a process in which Intel can combine pieces of chips made by another company to create a more powerful chip.

Demand for Intel’s chips has cooled after two years of strong growth driven by remote work during the pandemic, leading the chipmaker to turn to cost cuts. It has committed to trimming $3 billion (roughly Rs. 24,964 crore) in costs this year, with an aim of saving between $8 billion (roughly Rs. 66,569 crore) and $10 billion (roughly Rs. 83,219 crore) by the end of 2025. 

© Thomson Reuters 2023 

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