Economics: April 2008 Archives

Writing for EETimes, Bolaji Ojo makes a fair point about the wireless deal between STMicroelectronics and NXP Semiconductors deal: it's not a pooling or a merger. It's a purchase. NXP just happens to hold a small share of NewCo for the moment.

That ST sees it as a purchase was made clear in the second conference call that ST held after the call it hosted jointly with NXP's Frans van Houten. On the first call, where everybody was really happy to be working together, van Houten wanted to point out that the Dutch-American chipmaker was in NewCo for the long haul, albeit with a 20 per cent share of the new company. That combination of option calls described in the release was just a formalisation of a possible exit, just in case.

Carlo Ferro, chief financial officer of ST, made the position much clearer on the second, NXP-less call. "It is evident that ST starts with a 80 per cent and has identified a possible opportunity for a further move. ST has granted a call option after three years and NXP has a put option. The future exit cost will significantly depend on the future financial performance of the company."

Now here's the important bit: "ST is prepared for any possible evolution but we exclude the possibility to separate the business [from ST]. And we are prepared through the exit formula to consolidate the business."

Later on, Ferro added, when talking about the effect of the options on ST's financial performance, which he claimed should more or less cancel each other out on the balance sheet: "It is an opportunity to eventually buy the business at predefined terms."