LONDON Component and test equipment maker Aeroflex Inc., is the latest to succumb to private equity, having accepted a $1 billion cash bid from General Atlantic LLC and Francisco Partners.
The price being paid, $13.50 per share, represents a premium of nearly 23 percent to its closing price of $11.01 on the Nasdaq Friday.
The agreement includes a proviso that Aeroflex (Plainview, N.Y.) can solicit alternative proposals from third parties up till April 18. The company said it would pay a break-up fee if it accepts another offer, but did not disclose the amount.
The deal is subject to shareholder approval and the usual customary conditions. Aeroflex said it would file a Form 8-K with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission with further details.
"Following an extensive review of the proposed transaction, our board unanimously concluded that the offer from General Atlantic and Francisco Partners is in the best interests of Aeroflex's stockholders, employees and customers," said Len Borow, Aeroflex's president and chief operating officer, in a statement.
Aeroflex was founded in 1937 and has more than 2600 employees worldwide, many in Europe. It is one of the major suppliers of test equipment for the global communications industry, both for networks and end user equipment.
Two years ago the group bought, for $81 million in cash, the part of UbiNetics (Melbourn, England) that specializes in testing of wireless communications equipment and networks. This followed the acquisitions over previous years of two other major British players, Marconi Instruments and Racal Instruments.
A lot of the company's success in the semiconductor market is attributed to its space qualified and radiation hardened products used in satellite communications.