MKS to buy Ion Systems for $70 million

MKS Instruments has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Ion Systems (Berkeley, CA) for approximately $70 million.

WILMINGTON, MA - MKS Instruments has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Ion Systems (Berkeley, CA) for approximately $70 million. MKS is a leading provider of process control solutions for advanced manufacturing processes such as semiconductor device manufacturing; thin-film manufacturing for flat panel displays, data storage media, architectural glass and electro-optical products; and technology for medical imaging equipment. Ion Systems develops electrostatic management solutions for semiconductor, flat panel display, data storage, and other high-technology manufacturers.

“Contamination, including particle contamination from electrostatic attraction, has emerged as a major barrier for yield improvement in next-generation semiconductor, flat panel display, data storage and other advanced manufacturing processes,” said Leo Berlinghieri, MKS CEO and president. “Ionization technology is now being offered on semiconductor capital equipment to improve the yield of increasingly complex devices at smaller geometries that are being produced on valuable 300-mm wafers.”

Scott Gehlke, Ion Systems chairman and CTO, noted that submicron particle contamination is a growing issue and that problems relating to particulate and chemical contamination roughly double at every technology node.

“Ion’s portfolio of 29 patents reflects our core competencies in electrostatic control, plasma physics, particle physics, sensor design, and system integration for product platforms focused on semiconductor, flat panel display, data storage and general industrial applications. Our product platforms provide electrostatic attraction and discharge management to reduce contamination and improve yields, as well as reducing electromagnetic interference to improve software performance and equipment uptime.”

Ion Systems was founded in 1978 and generated sales of $35 million in its fiscal year ended June 30, 2005.

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