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Philips reportedly finds buyer for semiconductor unit

Evan Blass

After announcing late last year that it was planning to either sell or spin-off its semiconductor division, Royal Philips Electronics has finally found a buyer for the profitable business, according the Wall Street Journal. A private equity consortium composed of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Silver Lake Partners will apparently pay Philips about 8 billion euros ($10.3 billion) for the semiconductor unit, whose second quarter profits of $152 million were quadruple those of the same period a year ago. The same consortium also snatched up another chip manufacturer last year -- Agilent Technologies -- before renaming it Avago and spinning off its printer semiconductor business to a company called Marvell Technology. Although the Philips division accounts for a sixth of the Dutch electronics giant's revenue, apparently fears of a downswing in the semiconductor industry convinced the company to get out while the getting was still good, leaving it to focus on its core businesses of medical equipment financing, LCD manufacturing, and digital rights management. The deal will supposedly be officially announced within the next week, according to inside sources, with a new name for the division coming shortly thereafter.

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