GW Associates, a 25-year-old privately-held company which develops software connecting fab equipment, has been bought by fab automation firm Asyst Technologies.
Asyst makes standard mechanical interface (SMIF) mini-environment systems which protect the integrity of wafers by stopping them coming into contact with environmental contaminants.
It has paid GW $32m, comprising a first tranche of $8m cash and 450000 shares in Asyst. The remaining $16m will be paid on the first anniversary of the acquisition in cash and stock.
GW controls 80% of the market for fab tool connectivity software, and has been profitable since 1977. The move to 300mm wafers — GW is already shipping 300mm programs — is associated with fab equipment suppliers being forced to adopt SEMI standards for factory automation.
Jack Ghiselli, GW Associates' founder and president, told Electronics Times why he had only now agreed the company be acquired.
"GW has had an excellent quarter-century, since 1975, as a small, independent company. Everyone here has enjoyed it very much. However, we are also very pleased at this new move. We don't feel at all that we 'gave in' but rather that an excellent opportunity came our way.
quot;Over the years, a number of companies have expressed interest, but we think Asyst is an excellent partner. GW's products are very synergistic with Asyst's, so both companies gain from the merger.
"The entire GW team — me included — are working to integrate our products with Asyst's, and this will take some time."