HONG KONG (Reuters) – Semiconductor equipment manufacturer ASM Pacific Technology Ltd, listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, is in talks with potential investors in an effort to become a private company, sources directly involved in the matter told Reuters.
ASM Pacific intends to eventually enter the Shanghai STAR, the Nasdaq counterpart, which is known for higher quotations, sources, who asked to remain anonymous, said.
Dutch parent company ASM International NV, which owns about 25% of ASM Pacific, supports the proposal but has no plans to share its stake, one source said.
ASM denies that it plans to leave the exchange. ASM International did not respond to requests for comment.
Based on ASM's current market value of $ 4.2 billion, the potential deal would cost third-party investors at least $ 3.2 billion, excluding premiums.
Since the beginning of this year, Hong Kong-listed companies have reported $ 17.8 in exit deals, more than double last year's annual volume, according to Refinitiv. The companies mostly linked the withdrawal to a low share price.
According to the data, the average premium on these deals jumped to 46% this year and last year from 34% in 2018.
ASM, which makes machines for assembling and packaging chips, has been reaching out to a number of private and venture capital firms since the beginning of this year in the hope that they can help fund the buyout, the sources said.
One source said the company spoke with several banks about financing the deal.
In the first eight months of 2020, companies raised $ 14.4 billion through an IPO on China's STAR index, making it the second largest market in the world right after the Nasdaq, according to Refinitiv, outperforming stock exchanges in New York and Hong Kong.
According to the Shanghai Stock Exchange, STAR-listed companies have a share price-to-earnings ratio of over 93. Eikon data indicate that the ratio on the Nasdaq 100 is around 35.84.
(Kane Wu and Julie Zhu with the participation of Samuel Shen in Shanghai, translated by Olga Devyatiarova. Editor Anna Kozlova)