"There is no business reason you would want to do it," said Malcolm
Penn, CEO and principal analyst with Future Horizons Ltd. "Transparency
for what purpose?" he asked rhetorically. "It doesn't really make the
company more transparent. It all depends on how you account for things."
Penn added: "Why would you open yourself up beyond what is necessary to
the brickbats and arrows of the analyst community unless, you are doing
it to prove why you should dump part of the business."
ST is a
public company but with about one quarter of its ownership split 50:50
between bodies controlled by the French and Italian governments. This
means that any plans for a major change at ST would definitely be
subject to governmental scrutiny and be judged by other criteria than
the purely financial, such as the strategic nature of semiconductors and
job creation and preservation within France and Italy. Those interests
might need a lot of persuading to make the radical move of splitting ST
Penalver is a new boy at ST having been a member of the
executive board at France Telecom/Orange Group in charge of the group's
strategic initiatives and partnerships. Prior to his time at France
Telecom was managing director of the communication business group of
Carlo Bozotti's employment contract expires some time in
2014. He probably has until then to make real his dream of recovery for
both halves of ST. It's not long and if he cannot then probably Georges
Penalver will be allowed to execute the strategic plan B, whatever it
But who is doing the acquiring? and of what?
Do you mean that ST would try and sell the "Moore's Law" half of its business to a wannabe chip company that might take it as a way of bulking up?
Such a belated down-sizing would bring ST more in line with NXP and Infineon (More-than-Moore) which have already gone through this process.
@Peter: "But how does lumping the VLSI-related products together and exposing their finances help?"
The benefit is indirect. The market increasingly demands transparency. If I'm an ST investor, *I* certainly want that sort of breakdown. And if I'm ST senior management, that should be the way I'm looking at the numbers. I need to know where I'm doing well and where I'm lagging to make sensible decisions about what I ought to be doing.
It positions ST for future developments. I don't expect them to try to dispose of all of the Moore's Law related businesses in a lump. Who would buy them? I can see future investments, acquisitions, or divestitures in that segment, based on updated appreciations of the state of the market. Breaking out the financials provides clear grounding for decisions that might be made, because they'll be based on those numbers.