Power and discretes semiconductor firm Nexperia NV (Nijmegen, The Netherlands), has engaged US and UK law firms to fight the UK government’s ruling to reverse its purchase of Newport Wafer Fab.
Nexperia has been working with international law firm Akin Gump and barrister Lord Pannick KC to pursue a filing for a judicial review with the High Court.
In November 2022 the UK government ruled that Nexperia – which is owned by Chinese company Wingtech – should sell at least 86 percent of its stake in the South Wales wafer fab under national security legislation. Although not operating at the leading edge and small, the power fab is the UK ‘s most advanced chip manufacturing facility.
If the appeal is successful the ruling itself, which was made more than a year after the acquisition completed, could be judged illegal.
Toni Versluijs, the head of Nexperia in the UK, has said that the decision to force a resale of the fab puts 600 jobs at risk and is disproportionate, as other solutions to government concerns had been offered.
Drew Nelson, a former CEO of wafer supplier IQE plc, was a significant owner of Newport Wafer Fab before it was sold to Nexperia in 2021. Nelson has the right of first refusal to buy the company back, according to a Financial Times report.
The account says Nelson has teamed up with Palladian Investment Partners LLC to mount a bid for the company. Other private equity companies are also reportedly interested in taking a stake in the company (see Newport Wafer Fab sale decision delayed, as private equity circles).