Philips Acquires Shares in Lumileds
Anne L. Fischer
Royal Philips Electronics has purchased shares in Lumileds Lighting of San Jose, Calif. Through the transaction, the Netherlands-based company gains a controlling 96 percent interest in Lumileds, which manufactures LEDs for solid-state lighting.
In a press conference announcing the acquisition, Theo van Deursen, CEO of Philips Lighting Co., said that Lumileds was created in 1999 as a joint venture between Philips and Agilent Technologies Inc. of Palo Alto, Calif., as equal shareholders. Philips had a policy to invest in the company, while Agilent was willing to divest.
Philips will acquire the 47 percent of Lumileds shares held by Agilent for $950 million, plus repayment of $50 million of debt from Lumileds. It is anticipated that the transaction will be completed in the fourth quarter.
Van Deursen emphasized the importance of the acquisition, explaining that lighting alongside medical systems and domestic appliances are the key growth segments of Philips’ business. “But lighting is probably the most underestimated,” he stated. As solid-state and specialty lighting grows, holding a larger share in a leading LED company will be important to Philips. Although Philips previously focused on the application modules, “now we have the full value chain under our control,” he said.
Philips gains more than 200 LED patents through the acquisition. Lumileds focused on the high end of the market, with high-brightness and high-power LEDs. Van Deursen sees the move as “strengthening the position of a lighting division whose performance over the years has been very steady.”