SAN FRANCISCO—Commercial real estate vendor Colliers International announced Tuesday (Sept. 14) that it has spun off its advanced technology manufacturing services division into a separate, independent advisory firm.
The group, Advanced Technology Resource Group (ATREG), has been involved in a number of transactions revolving around the sale of semiconductor wafer fabs and production equipment since its formation in the late 1990s.
As a standalone company, ATREG will continue to provide semiconductor and advanced technology manufacturing clients with services including selling entire businesses or business units, process and product IP, and strategic consulting, according to ATREG executives. Meanwhile, Colliers will operate as ATREG’s preferred real estate provider under the terms of a strategic agreement between the now separate firms, ATREG said.
According to Stephen Rothrock, ATREG's managing principal, the group was split out from Colliers, the world's third largest commercial real estate services firm, because the nature of its business involves a great deal more than real estate transactions. When ATREG is retained to sell a wafer fab, Rothrock said, its focus is not only the physical building but also the employees, tools, business processes, IP and products, he said.
"The real key thing is that what we focus more than anything on complex transactions," Rothrock said. "We have resided within primarily a real estate company, and yet the assets that we sell are maybe 20 percent real estate."
Over the years, ATREG has been involved in the sale of several fabs, including for clients Qimonda AG, Atmel Corp., IDT, Freescale Semiconductor and others. According to Rothrock, the group's primary competition is in the former of companies' internal merger and acquisition teams. About half of the transactions ATREG is involved in are confidential, he said.
An example of the often complex transactions ATREG has been involved in is the sale of Qimonda's fab in Sandston, Va., in 2009. Qimonda, which had filed for bankruptcy protection, sold the fab's entire 300-mm equipment set for $172.5 million to Texas Instruments Inc., which brought the equipment to install at the first 300-mm analog production fab in Richardson, Texas. ATREG later sold the fab shell on behalf of Qimonda to Richmond Semiconductor LLC, which turned it into a datacenter.
"We've become more and more about those types of deals than what we were when we started 12 years ago," Rothrock said.
ATREG will now operate out of its new headquarters in Seattle, led by Rothrock, who previously served as the ATREG division's senior vice president and executive director within Colliers. All ATREG division employees are transferring to the company’s new location, Rothrock said.
"This is a really good win-win for both ATREG and Colliers," Rothrock said. "Colliers will continue to service the real estate needs of the clients. We are incredibly grateful for the support they've given us over 12 years."