Soulbrain to gain Samsung as DRAM precursor customer through deal
Chip and electronics material company Soulbrain is planning to acquire precursor maker DNF, TheElec has learned.
The deal is expected to close within the year and is reportedly worth around 100 billion won, sources said.
Soulbrain Holdings, the holding company of the Soulbrain group, will be the acquirer and Nau IB Capital is underwriting the deal.
Those from Soulbrain visited DNF earlier this week in preparation of the deal and researchers from both parties have already met, the sources said.
Soulbrain also received the OK for the deal from Samsung Electronics, which is the second largest shareholder of DNF and a customer of its precursors, they added.
DNF is one of the two major precursor makers, the other being Duksan Techopia, in South Korea.
DNF was founded by CEO Kim Myung-woon in 2001 and developed the precursor for aluminum chemical vapor deposition within Samsung in 2005, entering the precursor market for chip production.
It later developed an amorphous carbon layer precursor and double patterning technology precursor as well. Along with Japanese company Adeka, it as major supplier for DRAM precursors to Samsung.
Samsung made an equity investment of 21 billion won in DNF in 20021, acquiring a 7% stake, becoming the second largest shareholder after CEO Kim who holds 16.35%.
Soulbrain will acquire a 19.7% stake in DNF, which is owned by CEO Kim and his associates, in the deal, the sources said.
As of Monday, DNF was valued at 310 billion won, and with the added premium, Soulbrain is expected to offer 100 billion won for the shares.
However, DNF subsidiaries Chemoptics and DNF Advanced Materials won’t be included in the deal and Soulbrain is only seeking precursors businesses and assets.
The move by Soulbrain aims to diversify its portfolio. Soulbrain offers etching and cleaning materials such as HSN, HF, and BOE when it comes to chip production.
DNF’s main product is the precursor for DPT, which it started production 2012. Doubling patterning technology is used to protect the wafer during the double patterning process. DNF is also developing a DRAM precursor in the hafnium family, which Adeka already provides to Samsung. DNF is also developing a photoresist.
Soulbrain Chairman Jung Chi-wan, in a recent executive meeting, told the meeting that the company needs to diversify its portfolio to strengthen its competence in the semiconductor sector at that the purchase of DNF will allow this.
Meanwhile, DNF had also offered itself to Hansol Group earlier but Soulbrain’s offer was considerably more attractive, the sources also said.