Tsinghua Unigroup Said in Talks on $2.5 Billion Linxens Deal

(Bloomberg) -- Tsinghua Unigroup Ltd., the state-linked Chinese technology giant, is in advanced talks to acquire French smart-card components maker Linxens, people familiar with the matter said.

The Beijing-based company could announce an agreement with Linxens’s owner, private equity firm CVC Capital Partners, as soon as the next couple weeks, according to the people. Tsinghua Unigroup has been discussing a potential valuation of about 2.2 billion euros ($2.5 billion) for Linxens, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

Shares of Unigroup Guoxin Microelectronics Co., an affiliate of Tsinghua Unigroup that makes products including smart-card chips, jumped as much as 5.6 percent in Shenzhen trading Friday and were on track for the biggest one-day gain in more than two months.

Tsinghua Unigroup, one of the standard bearers for China’s efforts to reduce its reliance on foreign technology, has aggressively pursued overseas acquisitions while also building capacity at home. It’s building a $30 billion memory chip production complex in the eastern city of Nanjing that will become China’s largest when completed.

The company said last year it had secured as much as 150 billion yuan ($23 billion) of financing pledges from two Chinese government-backed investors. Any deal would add to the $25.3 billion in overseas technology acquisitions backed by Chinese companies over the past 12 months, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Negotiations could still be delayed or fall apart, one of the people said. A representative for Tsinghua Unigroup declined to comment. Representatives for CVC and Linxens didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

CVC bought Linxens in 2015 from French buyout firm Astorg Partners. Linxens, founded in 1979, provides flexible connectors used in smart cards, according to its owner’s website.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

With assistance from Editorial Board

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