ASML adds Samsung as third chipmaker investor, closes funding plan

August 27, 2012 - Semiconductor lithography tool leader ASML has agreed to sell a 3% equity stake to Samsung Electronics, adding a third major chip investor to its plan to help fund its ongoing development efforts in semiconductor lithography technologies.

Earlier this summer ASML unveiled its blockbuster Co-Investment Program: hand over up to an aggregate 25% minority stake to its key customers, in exchange for cash and R&D funding for the next five years, split between two key areas of EUV lithography and 450mm wafers. First to jump on board was Intel paying €2.25 billion (US $2.8B) for a 15% stake; weeks later TSMC picked up a 5% stake in ASML for about €1.1B (US $1.38B).

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Now, under the newest deal, Samsung will invest a total of €779M (US $974M) in ASML: €503M for the equity and €276M for R&D. In total, from which are inarguably far and away the top three global chipmakers, ASML has pulled in roughly €3.04B ($) in equity investments, and €1.38B (US $) to support R&D funding. With its goal of €1.3B reached, ASML says the program is now officially concluded and it will not seek any more participants.

* Some totals rounded

ASML's Co-Investment Program has been well received by industry and investors (ASML's stock price has risen about 19% since the Intel announcement on July 10). EUV lithography is still being tinkered with to get it production-ready, with significant hurdles still to surmount from source power to masks. Meanwhile the industry is simultaneously trying to transition to the bigger 450mm wafer size, but lithography (essentially ASML) has been a glaring omission from those efforts. With major chipmakers ponying up funds specifically to ramp up lithography efforts in 450mm wafer processing, that gets everyone behind 450mm to make it happen within the next couple of years.

(Image via Shutterstock)

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