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Synopsys buys S.Korean fab data tech company

Acquisition of BISTel is likely to broaden Synopsys' semiconductor fab solutions

By Jun 24, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

(Courtesy of BISTel)
(Courtesy of BISTel)
Synopsys Inc., a US software developer, has signed an agreement to acquire full ownership of BISTel, South Korea's top-ranked smart manufacturing software company.

Founded by ex-Samsung Electronics engineer W.K. Choi in 2000, BISTel provides automation engineering technologies to semiconductor and display makers for real-time machine monitoring and fault detection.

"The acquisition will broaden Synopsys' industry-leading process control solutions for semiconductor fabs with an integrated and comprehensive yield management and prediction solution to enhance manufacturing quality and efficiency," Synopsys said in a statement released earlier this week.

It will also accelerate technology development using real-time manufacturing predictive analysis, the New York-listed software company added.

Synopsys declined to disclose the terms of the deal. 

As an S&P 500 company, Synopsys is a global leader in electronic design automation (EDA) and semiconductor intellectual property, offering application security testing tools and services. 

BITSel, with about 250 developers, has gained a reputation for its real-time machine monitoring and fault detection applications. The software generates data to help manufacturers control temperature, pressure and light, as well as chemical input during the manufacturing process, thereby reducing fault rates and improving production yields.

Founder and CEO Choi holds a 68.97% stake in the startup. Geron Systems Inc., a Korean commercial landlord, has a 14.12% stake, with the remaining 16.91% owned by unidentified shareholders.

In 2010, it opened a research center in Silicon Valley in its attempt to enter the US market. Now, overseas sales make up over half of its total sales.

BISTel turned to an operating loss of 4.6 billion won ($4.1 million) in 2020, versus an operating profit of 85.5 million won a year earlier. Sales declined by 14% on the year to 30.5 billion won.
(Courtesy of BISTel)
(Courtesy of BISTel)

"Semiconductor fabs are rising to the challenge of meeting market demand for products that drive the global economy," said Howard Ko, general manager of the Silicon Engineering Group at Synopsys, in the statement.

"Combining Synopsys' and BISTel's expertise in fab solutions will enable us to bring to market innovative process control products that help our customers maximize economic opportunity."

In 2019, BISTel unveiled a cloud-based software program, jointly with the country's top mobile carrier SK Telecom Co. The program, dubbed Metatron Grandview, enables real-time fault detection, classification and prediction to cut maintenance costs by double digits, while extending the life of machines.

(Amended on Sept. 9 to delete the acquisition value at the request of the sources)

Write to Jun-ho Cha at chacha@hankyung.com

Yoenhee Kim edited this article.

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