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Former Apple Execs Buy Wafer Foundry for $260M

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NEWPORT BEACH & IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 27, 2006 -- Apple Computer Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak and two other former Apple executives have acquired privately held wafer foundry Jazz Semiconductor Inc. for $260 million in cash.

Wozniak, former Apple CEO Gilbert F. Amelio and CTO Ellen M. Hancock made the purchase through Irvine-based Acquicor Technology Inc., an acquisition company they founded with the purpose of buying a business in the technology, multimedia and networking sectors. Acquicor raised $172.5 million through its March 2006 initial public offering, with $164 million placed in a trust account to fund such a purchase. Acquicor said it will fund the remainder of the Jazz Semiconductor purchase through third-party financing. 

Under the agreement, Jazz Semiconductor, which is primarily focused on specialty CMOS process technologies, including high-voltage CMOS, SiGe BiCMOS (silicon germanium bipolar CMOS) and RF (radio frequency) CMOS for the manufacture of highly integrated analog and mixed-signal semiconductor devices at its Newport Beach foundry, will merge with a wholly owned subsidiary of Acquicor.

The agreement is subject to adjustment based on Jazz Semiconductor’s working capital and for possible future contingent payments and has been approved by both boards of directors and by Jazz Semiconductor’s stockholders, the companies said. The merger still needs the approval of Acquicor stockholders and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2007. Because Acquicor is a publicly traded company, privately-held Jazz Semiconductor will no longer pursue its planned initial public offering, the companies said.

Jazz Semiconductor was initially formed in March 2002 as a joint venture between private equity firm The Carlyle Group and semiconductor supplier Conexant Systems Inc. Amelio is former president of Rockwell Communications Systems, a semiconductor manufacturing division of Rockwell International Corp., which was later spun off as Conexant Systems. In a separate statement, Conexant said it expected to receive $100 million in cash from Acquicor for its 42 percent share of Jazz Semiconductor.

Jazz Semiconductor President and CEO Shu Li will remain in his position, as will his management team, Acquicor said. Amelio, Hancock and Wozniak will remain as Acquicor CEO, COO and CTO, respectively.

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Sep 2006
AcquicoracquisitionsAmelioApple ComputerCMOSCommunicationsConexantfoundryHancockindustrialJazz SemiconductormergersNews & FeaturesRF CMOSRockwellsemiconductorsSiGe BiCMOSWafersWozniak

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