Agilent To Sell Semiconductor Unit

High-tech group Agilent Technologies said August 15 it would sell its semiconductor operations for $2.66 billion as it reorganizes to focus on its core business of electronic and scientific measurement.

In the first of three deals, Agilent agreed to sell its semiconductor business to the private-equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Co. and Silver Lake Partners. Agilent also said Philips Electronics would buy its 47% stake in Lumileds Lighting for $950 million, or 765 million euros, cash. And Agilent said it would spin off its system-on-a-chip and Memory Test lines as soon as practical in 2006. Agilent said it would immediately begin a $4 billion share buyback.

"It has become increasingly clear that investors also prefer this exclusive focus on the $40 billion measurement market. Returning the proceeds of these divestitures via share repurchases demonstrates Agilent's commitment to realizing superior value for our owners as well as our customers," said Bill Sullivan, Agilent president and chief executive officer.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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