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GlobalWafers Said to Near China Approval for Siltronic Deal

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(Bloomberg) -- Taiwan’s GlobalWafers Co. is close to clearing an important regulatory hurdle in its $5.3 billion acquisition of German silicon wafer manufacturer Siltronic AG, according to people familiar with the matter.

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China’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, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing confidential information. The deal still requires the green light from Germany’s economy ministry, and those discussions are ongoing, according to the people.

GlobalWafers shares were up as much as 7.6% in Taipei on Wednesday while Siltronic rose 1.1% in Frankfurt on Tuesday, giving it a market value of roughly $4.7 billion.

“We are still waiting for the final approval in China. But all questions have been answered,” GlobalWafers Chairwoman Doris Hsu said in an interview with German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung published Tuesday. She added that the German government might be concerned that GlobalWafers is headquartered in Taiwan, rather than in Europe.

A representative for Siltronic declined to comment, while a spokesperson for China’s SAMR couldn’t immediately be reached for comment outside regular business hours. A representative for Germany’s economy ministry had no immediate comment.

GlobalWafers and Siltronic announced their tie-up in December 2020. The companies said in October that they were in protracted discussions over regulatory clearances in China and Germany.

The takeover would be GlobalWafers’ largest ever and also one of the chip industry’s biggest in recent years. Competition in the market for semiconductors is heating up as companies that were once customers, such as Apple Inc., design their own chips and established players like Nvidia Corp. branch out into new areas.

Headquartered in Munich, Siltronic is a leading maker of silicon wafers used in products such as smartphones, computers, navigation and digital displays. It has production sites and offices in Germany, the U.S. and other advanced manufacturing countries.

Nomura Holdings Inc. advised GlobalWafers on the deal, while Credit Suisse Group AG worked with Siltronic.

(Updates shares)

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