Philips offloads LED lighting components unit for USD2.8bn

March 31, 2015 // By Paul Buckley
Philips offloads LED lighting components unit for USD2.8bn
Philips has agreed to sell an 80.1 percent stake in the company's lighting components division for $2.8 billion to Go Scale Capital, a technology fund that will seek to build the company's automotive LED business.

The deal, which herald a bigger strategic move for Philips that will see the company spin off its main lighting division, via a stock market flotation, with the Dutch group opting to focus more on medical technology and selected consumer electronics in future.

The deal is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2015 subject to regulatory approval. The newly formed company will be called Lumileds and will continue to act as a supplier to Philips.

Philips, which is the world’s largest lighting manufacturer, estimates that the value the sale of the lighting components subsidiary represent $3.3 billion including debt.   The lighting components division comprises an automotive lighting unit and the Lumileds LED manufacturing business. The unit made a 2014 profit of 141 million euros on sales of 1.42 billion euros.

Go Scale Capital, is funded by GSR Ventures and Oak Investment Partners, has made other investments in LEDs and electric car battery technology says it plans to invest in and expand the business of using LEDs in cars.  Go Scale's past investments include Boston Power, a U.S.-based manufacturer of electric vehicle batteries, and Xin Da Yang, a Eco-EV company in China.

Go Scale has offices in Hong Kong, Beijing and Silicon Valley in the USA and is an investment fund for by GSR Ventures and Oak Investment Partners.  Other members are venture capital funds Asia Pacific Resource Development, Nanchang Industrial Group and GSR Capital.

"There were other bidders, also good bidders, perhaps with fewer connections in the industry of semiconductors and the ability to help in building out scale," Philips CEO Frans van Houten told reporters.

Last week it was beleived that rival bidding groups led by private equity firms CVC-KKR and Bain Capital had been close to capturing Lumileds but Go Scale entered the bidding in recent weeks.

Philips said it wanted to sell the subsidiary, which will be called Lumileds, because many of its customers compete with Philips.

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