SAN DIEGO -- ASIC pioneer American Microsystems Inc. on Tuesday (Jan. 2) announced it has changed its name to AMI Semiconductor after two U.S. investment firms purchased 80% ownership in the company from Japan Energy Corp.'s GA-Tek subsidiary.
Francisco Partners and Citicorp Venture Capital (CVC) said they completed previously announced acquisitions of majority interest in AMI, leaving GA-Tek with a 20% stake in the 34-year-old chip maker.
Japan Energy acquired AMI from Gould Inc. in 1988--the same year that the ASIC supplier moved its headquarters from Santa Clara, Calif., to Pocatello, Idaho. In 2000, AMI transferred its headquarters to San Diego, but it continues to operate two chip fabs in Idaho (one processing 8-inch wafers and the other running 5-inch diameter substrates).
The GA-Tek subsidiary has a warrant to purchase an additional 10% stake in AMI Semiconductor. Terms of the transaction were not released.
AMI Semiconductor (AMIS ) said it will continue to develop and market ASIC products for a broad range of system applications. The company also said it will aggressive introduce new wireless communication products during 2001.
In a 12-month period, ending on Nov. 30, AMI Semiconductor had net sales of more than $370 million, according to information posted on the company's Web site (www.amis.com). During 1999, AMI had revenues of $279 million, with about 30% of the sales coming from gate array products, 26% from mixed-signal ICs, and 25% from silicon foundry services.
A year ago, AMI announced plans to sell stock in an initial public offering after hiring H. Gene Patterson as president and CEO. Patterson was previously the president of Symbios Logic Inc. in Colorado. AMI had planned the IPO for 2000, but the initial offering was delayed.
The name change is partly aimed at sharpening AMI's corporate identity as the company continues plans for an IPO, said Harold Blomquist, senior vice president of worldwide sales and corp orate marketing. "AMIS is our domain name, and we have registered it as our stock symbol in preparation for our IPO," Blomquist said.
AMI has begun preliminary negotiations to acquire a wafer fab owned by Zilog Inc., which is attempting to refocus itself. In late December, Zilog announced it would cut 7% of its workforce, and consider selling one of its fabs in Nampa, Idaho (see Dec. 22 story).