Trailblazing Israeli electronics company sold for $3.4 billion

The Yavneh-based firm Orbotech reached a deal with US manufacturer KLA-Tencor Corporation. Production will remain in Israel.

By: Steve Leibowitz, World Israel News

The start-up nation has done it again with the Yavneh-based electronics maker Orbotech reaching an agreement on Monday to be sold to the California-based semiconductor manufacturer KLA-Tencor for $3.4 billion.

This was one of the largest ever buyouts of an Israeli company. Orbotech is an example of a company that scaled up and become a major corporation in Israel before being sold, as opposed to many Israeli start-ups which make quick, lucrative exits.

Orbatech management says that corporate offices will remain in Israel. Orbatech produces systems for circuit boards and chips. CEO Asher Levy issued a statement saying, “This acquisition is a true testament to Orbotech’s strong leadership and success. I firmly believe that this deal benefits our employees and creates additional value for our shareholders. Together with KLA-Tencor, we will significantly increase growth potential, accelerate our product development road-map, and enhance customer offerings.”

KLA-Tencor CEO Rick Wallace said, “KLA-Tencor has had a strong presence in Israel over the years, and this combination further expands our operations in this important global technology region. The companies will fit together exceptionally well in terms of people, processes, and technology.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu celebrated Orbotech’s achievement, and was gratified with the decision to keep the company in Israel. Netanyahu released a statement saying, “I was happy to hear that the company, which employs 2,500 workers, will continue to operate from Yavneh. It’s more good news for Israel’s high-tech industry and economy!”

Orbotech develops technologies used in the manufacture of advanced electronic products. Its equipment is used in flat panel displays, printed circuit boards, and semiconductors. In a past interview with Globes, Levy said, “The chances that someone holds in their hand a smartphone or tablet that Orbotech did not have something to do with its production, design or inspection are pretty much zero.”

This was not the largest exit by an Israeli company. In 2015 the Israeli company Mobileye was sold to Intel for $15.3.