Conquering the Univers(al)

Despite their relative size and prominence, Taiwanese EMS firms not named Foxconn don’t get much play in the US. But today’s deal is a doozy: Advanced Semiconductor Engineering, a provider of semiconductor manufacturing and IC packaging services, along with its two subsidiaries, has offer to acquire all outstanding common shares of Universal Scientific Industrial Co., Ltd. in a cash and stock deal valued at about $571 million.

USI is, of course, the world’s 24th largest – and Taiwan’s third largest, after Foxconn and Orient Semiconductor – provider of EMS services. It had 2008 EMS sales of $490.4 million, and EMS work makes up about 25% (or about $318 million) of its overall sales so far this year.

ASE and its subsidiaries already own 18.2% of USI’s outstanding common shares. Assuming it goes through, this will create a packaging, test and board assembly monster. Advanced Semiconductor Engineering already is the world’s largest test and packaging house. ASE’s revenues year-to-date are $1.84 billion; USI’s are $1.27 billion.

That’s some serious vertical integration.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow