Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.
God Save Renesas From Private Equity
God help Renesas if the asset-strippers get their hands on it.
Word is that American private equity companies KKR and Silverlake, which were part of the consortium which made the ill-fated 2006 takeover did for NXP, are in talks about investing ‘several tens of billions of yen’ in the ailing Japanese chip-maker.
If KKR and Silverlake do to Renesas what they did to NXP, then we can expect mass sackings, dismemberment with business unit sell-offs, reduced R&D funding and the imposition of a stupendous debt load.
After KKR and Silverlake bought NXP, NXP’s wireless business was sold off, the sound solutions business unit was sold off, the TV and set-top box IC business unit was sold off and fabs in Caen, Hamburg and New York sold or closed. A $6 billion debt burden was placed on the company’s books to help defray the purchase cost. Some 15,000 people lost their jobs.
That was a heap of misery for many ex-employees and their families. So much so that the Dutch government applied to the EU for hardship money to help the sacked NXP workers.
Renesas, with 25 manufacturing sites worldwide must seem like juicy plunder to an asset-stripper with these kind of appetites.
KKR and Silverlake are not the only American asset-strippers to try and pursue their grisly trade in Japan. NEC Electronics, the former semiconductor arm of NEC, had an American stalker called Perry Capital for some years.
Perry offered to buy a big tranche of shares in NEC Electronics – up to 25 per cent – and asked NEC Group to reduce its representation on the NEC Electronics board. When the NEC Group declined the offer, Perry threatened to take them to court. The situation was resolved by other means when NEC Electronics was folded into Renesas.
So be warned. If the Japanese authorities allow KKR and Silverlake to buy Renesas, the consequences will be utter misery for tens of thousands of Japanese people.
The very same people who won worldwide admiration for putting Renesas’ manufacturing capability back on its feet in double quick time after the great earthquake of 2011.Tags: debt burden, grisly trade, hardship money, japanese authorities, mass sackings