VIENNA (Reuters) - German lighting group Osram (OSRn.DE) has urged its shareholders to back a $5 billion takeover bid from Austria’s AMS (AMS.VI) after a previous offer at the same price failed last month to win enough backing to proceed.
AMS has lowered the acceptance threshold to 55% and is offering to protect jobs in Germany until the end of 2022 to try to get the deal over the line.
The Austrian group is best known as a supplier of facial recognition technology to Apple (AAPL.O), while Osram’s lightbulbs were once ubiquitous in European households.
AMS says that with the acquisition it could create a global heavyweight in sensors and lighting products, serving the automotive, industrial and medical industries as well as consumer electronics.
Below are key facts about the two companies:
AMS, formerly austria microsystems AG, started in 1981 as a U.S.-Austrian joint venture backed by steelmaker Voestalpine (VOES.VI) which wanted to diversify into semiconductors.
The group, based in the grounds of a castle in Austria’s Styria state, listed in Zurich in 2004.
AMS develops infrared sensor technology used for facial recognition in smartphones and tablets, in autonomous driving, factory automation and devices for computer tomography.
Chief Executive Alexander Everke, an electrical engineer, started his career with Osram’s former parent company Siemens(SIEGn.DE), later working for Infineon (IFXGn.DE) and NXP Semiconductors (NXPI.O) before joining AMS in 2015. The group generated revenue of 1.4 billion euros ($1.54 billion), operating profit of 128 million and net profit of 10.6 million last year with a workforce of 10,000 people. Net debt stood at 1.24 billion euros at end-June.
It has a market capitalization of 3.5 billion euros.
AMS’s main revenue source is optical sensors. Its main customer is Apple (AAPL.O), which analysts estimate accounts for 40% of group revenue.
AMS is investing heavily in technology for laser-based sensors used in self-driving cars.
The group also offers display solutions such as OLEDs - display sensors that are thinner and more flexible than light-emitting diodes (LEDs) - and is working on sensors capable of scanning surroundings in 3D, so-called world-facing 3D sensors.
It makes audio sensors that cancel noise in wireless earbuds, and has a joint venture with Wise Road Capital for environmental sensors that detect temperature or moisture.
AMS has production sites in Austria, mainly for semiconductor manufacturing, in the Philippines for testing and related production steps, and in Singapore for optical manufacturing and packaging back-end.
It also has a location in Texas, where it bought light sensor supplier TAOS in 2011.
Osram, headquartered in Munich, was created out of a merger in 1919 and was for decades part of Siemens (SIEGn.DE) before being spun off and floated in 2013.
The company has sought under Chief Executive Olaf Berlien to reinvent itself as a high-tech company, offering products such as infrared or laser lighting used in self-driving cars, mobile phones, or “smart” buildings and cities.
Soon after taking the helm in 2015, Berlien announced a billion-euro investment in a new factory in Malaysia that would produce LED chips for the general lighting market.
Berlien has built up the automotive division as a play on the development of electric and self-driving vehicles.
The group reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of 655 million euros on revenue of 4.1 billion in 2018 with 24,200 staff. Net debt stoodat 424 million euros at the end of June.
Osram has a market capitalization of 3.6 billion euros.
Reporting by Kirsti Knolle in Vienna and Douglas Busvine in London; Editing by Keith Weir and Jan Harvey