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Former Imagination Technologies CEO considers bid for Welsh semiconductor plant

Ron Black is part of a consortium that is interested in buying the plant off of Nexperia, as the UK government investigates whether to allow the deal to go ahead

Ron Black, ex-CEO of Imagination Technologies, is reportedly among a consortium that is interested in buying a Welsh semiconductor manufacturer from Chinese-owned Nexperia. Nexperia's acquisition of the plant is currently being scrutinised by the UK government, and may be banned over national security concerns.

Black said that his consortium could take over Newport Wafer Fab (NWF) if the deal doesn’t go ahead, revealing that the consortium has £300 million to invest in the company, as reported by CNBC.

He added that the consortium is made up of three semiconductor businesses and three “financial sponsors”, but did not want to reveal their identities.

“We’re not making a competing bid,” Black said. “The deal has already been closed. Whether it remains closed, that’s the question that everybody wonders.”

Black underlined that the consortium hasn’t met with Nexperia or NWF to discuss a deal, saying that there’s no need to make an offer until a decision on the deal has been made. He said that the consortium wants to be seen as a “white knight” instead of an antagonist.

IT Pro has contacted Nexperia and NWF for comment.

In July this year, Nexperia acquired NWF and was set to rename the company to Nexperia Newport. This acquisition would add to the company's European manufacturing operations, along with other sites in Manchester and Hamburg. However, MP Tom Tugendhat was surprised the deal had been completed without undergoing a review, especially as the UK had signed the Carbis Bay G7 communique which pledged to “build economic resilience in critical global supply chains, such as semiconductors”.

Two days later, prime minister Boris Johnson ordered the UK’s national security adviser to investigate the acquisition. "We have to judge whether the stuff that they are making is of real intellectual property value and interest to China, whether there are real security implications,” he said to a committee.

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