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Brooks Automation (Nasdaq: BRKS) entered into a definitive agreement to sell its semiconductor solutions group business (or “automation business”) to Thomas H. Lee Partners (THL) for $3 billion in cash. The automation business reported approximately $613 million in revenue in the last twelve months ended June 30, 2021.
The purchase price is subject to adjustments for working capital and other items. Brooks anticipates closing of the transaction in the first half of 2022 upon satisfaction of customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.
Brooks’ automation business is a leading provider of high precision, high throughput vacuum robots and systems as well as contamination control solutions to the global semiconductor capital equipment industry. Recently, the business expanded into collaborative robotics for multi-market applications. More than 30,000 MagnaTran LEAP wafer handling robots have been installed worldwide, according to the company website.
“We are proud of the highly innovative automation business that we have built, which has seen great success in the semiconductor industry. We look forward to its continued growth under THL’s ownership” stated Steve Schwartz, President and CEO of Brooks. “We are equally proud of the strength and growth of our life sciences business and excited by the significant proceeds from this transaction which will afford strategic investments in a market where we see tremendous opportunity.”
“Over the past 40 years, Brooks has built an impressive portfolio of automated solutions to address some of the most difficult engineering challenges facing the semiconductor capital equipment industry,” stated Michael Kaczmarek, Managing Director, THL. “We are excited to support the business in its next leg of growth in semiconductor and beyond.”
Jim Carlisle, Managing Director and Head of THL’s Automation Fund, said: “THL remains focused on investing behind automation leaders, as underscored by the establishment of our Automation Fund in 2020, and working with management to accelerate growth. We welcome the Brooks semiconductor and multi-market collaborative automation team into our family of dynamic and innovative automation solution providers, and we look forward to partnering with the talented team from Brooks Automation to unlock new growth opportunities.”
As a result of the pending sale to THL, Brooks will no longer pursue a separation into two independent and publicly-traded companies as announced in May 2021. Following completion of the sale, the semiconductor automation business will transition to the ownership of THL along with the Brooks Automation name and brand. The remaining life sciences business will then operate as a standalone publicly-traded life sciences company, under a new name to be announced in the near future. Management will host an investor day to discuss the life sciences business on November 16, 2021.
Brooks acquired life science robotics company Precise Automation in April 2021 for $70 million. Precise Automation was founded by industry veterans Brian Carlisle and Bruce Shimano. The company was one of the first collaborative robotics companies to pursue applications in the life sciences market.
In April 2021, THL sold a 40% stake of ASRS developer AutoStore to Softbank for $2.8 billion. THL continues to be AutoStore’s majority shareholder.