Siltronic AG questioned the planned $5.3 billion takeover by Taiwan's GlobalWafers Co., saying the German Economy Ministry's feedback so far was opaque and offered no clear resolution to antitrust concerns.
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The German company said late Friday in a regulatory filing after a Bloomberg News report on remedies the companies have offered, the companies didn't receive any information as to whether and under what conditions a clearance for the takeover may be issued.
A mitigation agreement is apparently not suitable in the ministry's view to mitigate concerns with respect to the transaction, Siltronic said in the filing. If the clearance decision is not made by January 31, the transaction can't be closed.
GlobalWafers and Siltronic offered a wide range of remedies to deal with antitrust concerns, according to Bloomberg. Those include granting the German government special voting rights via a golden share, as well as ways to undo the purchase of Munich-based Siltronic or sell key assets back to the country, according to people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified because the talks are private.
GlobalWafers said in a statement that they believe that we addressed all concerns there constructively and comprehensively. It said that this transaction would be beneficial for Germany and Europe because it would secure the much needed investment and know-how and a reliable partner to Europe's semiconductor industry.
The German Economy Ministry has been looking into the deal for more than a year.
The ministry said earlier Friday in a statement to Bloomberg that investment review procedures often involve very complex issues and require close scrutiny. The ministry said that the time frame and requirements 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, however, offers a delicate array of challenges that combine Germany's interests in controlling future-oriented technologies with sensitive geopolitical considerations.
The deal is politically sensitive because of the heightened tensions between China and Taiwan. In the past, Germany tried to avoid antagonizing Chinese authorities over the island, which China s ruling Communist Party considers is part of its territory.
China 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 soon, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg this week.
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