Jan 14, 2022
GlobalWafers Offers Germany Veto Power to Secure Siltronic Deal
(Bloomberg) -- GlobalWafers Co. and the German silicon company it’s seeking to acquire have offered a range of remedies to allay possible security concerns for the $5.3 billion deal, according to people familiar with the matter.
The remedies include granting the German government special voting rights via a “golden share” as well as ways to undo the purchase of Munich-based Siltronic AG or sell key assets back to the country, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. It remains unclear if the proposals are sufficient to get backing for the transaction, they said.
Representatives for Siltronic and GlobalWafers declined to comment. The German Economy Ministry has been looking into the deal for more than a year and a deadline to make a decision expires at the end of this month.
“Investment review procedures often involve very complex issues and matters that require close scrutiny,” the ministry said in a statement to Bloomberg, adding that the time frame and requirements laid out in its foreign-trade remain “valid” for the deal’s review.
Siltronic’s proposed sale to the Taiwanese technology giant poses a first test for Robert Habeck, Germany’s new economy minister. The 52-year-old co-leader of the Greens spent his first weeks in office mapping out bold plans to shift the country’s sprawling industry to renewable power.
The Siltronic deal though offers delicate array of challenges mixing Germany’s interests in maintaining control of future-oriented technologies along with sensitive geopolitical considerations.
The deal is politically sensitive because of heightened tensions between China and Taiwan. In the past, Germany has tried to avoid antagonizing Chinese authorities over the island, which China’s ruling Communist Party considers part of its territory.
China also hasn’t yet granted regulatory approval for the deal -- the only other approval still pending. The country’s State Administration for Market Regulation has indicated it’s largely comfortable with the antitrust remedies proposed by the companies and could make a formal decision shortly, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg this week.
That could make Germany’s review the final hurdle for the deal.
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