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ASML seeks synergies via Hermes Microvision purchase

TAIPEI -- ASML Holding plans to tap Hermes Microvision's e-beam inspection technology to keep up with the circuit miniaturization arms race in the chip industry. 

ASML, the global leader in lithography systems for chip-making, announced Thursday that it is acquiring the Taiwan-based company for some 100 billion New Taiwan dollars ($3.09 billion).

Hermes Microvision controls about 80% of the global market for e-beam inspection systems, which can detect minute defects that are difficult to catch with optical systems. The Taiwanese company has honed its technologies amid the advancement of chip miniaturization, but the level of technology required soars when the circuit width drops to 10 nanometers or less.

Xu Jinrong, chairman of Hermes Microvision, said working with ASML will help raise the yield of cutting-edge products.

ASML will buy all shares of Hermes Microvision, currently on the over-the-counter market, at 1,410 New Taiwan dollars ($43.54) per share, a 31% premium over the average price during the past 30 days. The transaction is to be completed in the October-December quarter. Taiwanese authorities will screen the deal to protect the homegrown technologies and industry.

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