All the chips are gone

Repositioning itself to focus on test, Agilent Technologies sells off all its chip business in a billion-dollar move.

Agilent Technologies is to sell off its entire semiconductor products business to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) and Silver Lake Partners for $2.66 billion. And it also plans to spin off its SOC and Memory Test businesses as soon as practical in 2006.

The announcement follows news earlier in the day that Royal Philips Electronics had signed an agreement to acquire the company’s 47% stake in Lumileds Lighting for $950 million.

“It has become increasingly clear that our investors would prefer us to focus on the $40 billion measurement market,” said Bill Sullivan, Agilent president and chief executive officer of Agilent.

The company currently expects that all the divestitures will be completed by the end of its fiscal year, October 31, 2005, subject to closing conditions, including governmental and regulatory approvals.

Completion of the lighting deal will give Philips a controlling ownership in San Jose, CA-based 1,760 strong Lumileds, with the company holding 96.5% of Lumileds’ issued and outstanding share capital. The remaining 3.5% will be owned by an employee trust company.

As part of its repositioning as a measurement company, Agilent expects to reduce its infrastructure costs by $450 million, and infrastructure-related employment by about 1,300 jobs.