Applied Materials to Acquire Semitool

  Applied Materials Inc. plans to buy Semitool Inc. for $364 million in cash. According to the company this move will broaden its portfolio of chip manufacturing equipment.

  Applied Materials CEO Mike Splinter said the acquisition will help the company tap the growing market for semiconductors that go into mobile gadgets including "smart" phones and notebook computers.

  Applied Materials, based in Santa Clara, Calif., said it will offer Semitool shareholders $11 per share, a 31 % premium over the company's Monday closing share price of $8.40.

  For the deal to be approved, Applied Materials needs two thirds of Semitool shareholders to accept the offer, which the companies expect to close by the end of the year. About 32 % of Semitool's shares are held by its directors and executives, who have already agreed to tender their stake.

  Semitool, based in Kalispell, Mont., saw shares jump $2.56, or 30 %, to $10.96 in premarket trading Tuesday. The stock has ranged from $1.86 to $9.73 over the past year, according to the Associated Press' review.

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