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Infineon shells out billions for US rival International Rectifier

German chip maker Infineon has confirmed it signed a contract to take over US competitor International Rectifier. Infineon said the merger will boost its product range and its US market presence.

An Infineon chip

Following years of restraint during which it resisted investors' calls to spend on acquisitions, Bavaria-based Infineon concluded a takeover offensive Wednesday by signing a deal with California-based International Rectifier.

The German semiconductor firm said it had would pay $40 (30.1 euros) per share, resulting in a transaction price of $3 billion.

International Rectifier had sales of nearly a billion dollars in its 2013 financial year. The company specializes in chips for power management applications. Infineon said the deal would enhance its product line and improve its market presence in the US and in Asia.

According to a statement issued by Infineon, the deal was given the green light by both company boards, but was still subject to regulatory approval.

Complementary product lines

The Bavarians said they would finance the deal partly through cash on hand, but would also take 1.5 billion euros in fresh debt to finance the deal.

Infineon said the transaction would be completed by early 2015. It claimed the merger would likely contribute positively to its earnings per share from the first year, because the product lines of the two companies were highly complementary.

The German company is

hoping for rising demand in chips

for car electronics and battery management. Overall, though, the global chip industry has seen better times. Chipmakers have pooled resources through a wave of corporate consolidations in order to offset the impact of mounting research and production costs.

Infineon began its corporate life when the semiconductor division of German engineering giant Siemens was spun out of Siemens 15 years ago. After some ups and downs in its early years, Infineon has remained profitable for several years running.

hg/nz (Reuters, dpa)

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