Reliance Industries, led by Mukesh Ambani, is reportedly considering the acquisition of Tower Semiconductor, an Israel-based conglomerate. This potential move by Reliance is seen as an entry into the chip ecosystem.
Business Today cited sources to suggest that the plans might face delays due to the Israel-Hamas conflict, although the company's spokesperson has denied any ongoing acquisition talks.
Last year, there were rumors of Reliance's interest in a stake in the International Semiconductor Consortium (ISMC), but no further progress was made.
This development follows Intel's cancellation of its $5.4 billion acquisition of Tower Semiconductor in August 2023, as regulatory approval was not obtained.
Industry experts believe this situation presents an opportunity for Reliance to acquire Tower Semiconductor or a stake in the company.
Tower Semiconductor stands as a prominent foundry specialising in the production of high-value analog semiconductor solutions. Its expertise lies in crafting analog integrated circuits for a diverse clientele exceeding 300 customers across various sectors, including automotive, medical, industrial, consumer, aerospace, and defense.
Notably, the company secured the seventh position in global foundry revenue, accumulating $356 million according to TrendForce Q1-Q3 data. With an anticipated annual revenue surpassing $1 billion, Tower Semiconductor maintains a robust presence in the industry.
Tower Semiconductor has consistently extended its support to aid in the establishment of India's semiconductor ecosystem. Back in 2013-14, it participated in a consortium led by the Jaypee Group, serving as a potential technology partner alongside IBM.
More recently, the company expressed its willingness to collaborate as a technology partner, this time with ISMC. ISMC had submitted an application in February 2022 under India’s Rs 76,000 crore semiconductor incentive scheme, specifically for a 65nm technology node analog fab.
In a recent development, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, the Union Minister of State for the Ministry of Electronics & IT, engaged in discussions with Russell C. Ellwanger, the CEO of Tower Semiconductors, in India.
The agenda of their meeting centered around fostering a partnership between India and Tower Semiconductor in the semiconductor domain. Notably, Israel’s Ambassador to India, Naor Gilon, was also part of this significant meeting.
The expressed interest of Reliance in Tower Semiconductor aligns with a broader trend among significant Indian business entities, such as Tata, Vedanta, and the Hiranandani group, actively exploring opportunities in chip manufacturing.
Notably, both Tata and Vedanta have enlisted the expertise of semiconductor veterans to guide their ventures into this domain. This strategic move towards chip manufacturing could potentially serve as a means for Reliance to future-proof its telecom and electronics business.
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