December 10, 2019 / 7:33 AM / 6 months ago

Austrian sensor specialist AMS acquires 59% of Osram shares

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian sensor specialist AMS said on Tuesday that the acceptance rate in its 4.6 billion euro ($5.1 billion) takeover offer for German lighting group Osram was 59.3%, a little more than the required 55% threshold.

The headquarters of lamp manufacturer Osram is pictured next to a traffic light in Munich, Germany, December 9, 2019. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

AMS, known for supplying Apple with sensors for iPhones, wants to build a leader in integrated sensors and lights and develop systems for self-driving cars and smartphone applications.

After failing with a first offer at the same price but with a higher threshold of 62.5%, investors had been uncertain whether the second try would be successful, with hedge funds thought to hold around a third of Osram shares days before the offer period expired on Thursday.

Osram shareholders who have not yet tendered their stock, can still do so in an extended acceptance period that will last until Dec. 24. Market sources expect index funds, which they say hold around 10% in Osram, to use that window to sell their stake.

Osram, whose lightbulbs were once ubiquitous in European homes, became a takeover target after its attempt to turn itself into a specialist in the technology of generating and harnessing light using photons did not bring the hoped-for success. Hit by slow demand for car headlights, it reported a loss for the fiscal year that ended in September.

In the years to come, large job cuts seem unavoidable, even though AMS is ready to apply an employment protection scheme until end-2022 on the Osram sites in Germany.

AMS currently employs around 8,500 staff, Osram 23,500.

AMS plans to hold an extraordinary shareholders meeting in January to get approval for a 1.6 billion euro capital increase to fund the acquisition.

The final number of Osram shares tendered is expected to be published on Jan. 2, it said.

($1 = 0.9073 euros)

Reporting by Kirsti Knolle; Editing by Michelle Martin and Louise Heavens

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