Israeli firm Orbotech sold to US company in $3.4 billion deal

Yavneh-based electronics maker will keep offices in Israel after purchase by KLA-Tencor in one of country’s largest-ever deals

Michael Bachner is a news editor at The Times of Israel

Orbotech's offices in Yavneh. (Google Street View)
Orbotech's offices in Yavneh. (Google Street View)

Israeli tech firm Orbotech reached a deal Monday to be sold to a US-based manufacturer for $3.4 billion, in one of the biggest ever buyouts of an Israeli company.

The California-based semiconductor equipment maker KLA-Tencor Corporation said Monday that it will be buying the Israeli electronics manufacturer Orbotech Ltd., which produces systems for circuit boards and chips.

KLA-Tencor said in a statement it was buying Yavneh-based Orbotech at an equity value of approximately $3.4 billion.

“This acquisition is a true testament to Orbotech’s strong leadership and success,” said Asher Levy, chief executive officer of Orbotech, following the announcement.

“I firmly believe that this deal benefits our employees and creates additional value for our shareholders,” he said. “Together with KLA-Tencor, we will significantly increase growth potential, accelerate our product development road-map, and enhance customer offerings.”

“Orbotech will continue to operate under the Orbotech brand as a standalone business of KLA-Tencor based in Yavneh, Israel,” Levy added.

“KLA-Tencor has had a strong presence in Israel over the years, and this combination further expands our operations in this important global technology region,” said Rick Wallace, president and CEO of KLA-Tencor, in a statement. He added that his company and Orbotech “fit together exceptionally well in terms of people, processes, and technology.”

The deal was the latest billion-dollar-plus exit for an Israeli tech firm, following on the heels of automobile sensor maker Mobileye to Intel for $15.3 billion last year and navigation app Waze to Google in 2015 for $1 billion.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu congratulated Orbotech and praised its announcement that it would be keeping it headquarters and offices in Israel.

“I was happy to hear that the company, which employs 2,500 workers, will continue to operate from Yavneh,” he said in a statement. “More good news for Israel’s high-tech industry and economy!”

The transaction has been approved by both companies’ board of directors and is expected to be finalized by the end of 2018, KLA-Tencor said, subject to approval by Orbotech’s shareholders and regulatory approvals. No approval by KLA-Tencor stockholders is required.

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