Mumbai: Japan's Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ltd and private-equity firm TPG have offered to acquire semiconductor equipment maker Axcelis Technologies Inc, for $544 million in cash.
Sumitomo, however, said it is not its final offer, leaving open the option that it could sweeten its $5.20 offer for the chip equipment maker.
Sumito's bid was 29 per cent more than Axcelis's closing price on February 8.
Beverly, Massachusetts-based Axcelis said its board is evaluating the offer.
"We don't know yet, but it was not necessarily our final offer," said Sumitomo spokesman Nobuhiro Kano.
Tokyo-based Sumitomo also rejected the view that it is making a hostile bid for the chip equipment maker.
Sumitomo said it had attempted to discuss a deal with Axcelis for the last 18 months, but the Axcelis's board had ``declined to engage in meaningful discussions.''
Sumitomo wants a friendly deal it is not considering a hostile takeover of Axcelis, said Kano.
Sumitomo and Axcelis have a joint venture in Japan called SEN. A combination of Sumitomo, Axcelis and SEN, could better compete in the market, said the Sumitomo spokesman.
Axcelis, which makes ion implantation equipment used in manufacturing semiconductors, holds about a 14 per cent market share worldwide while the Sumitomo-Axcelis joint venture SEN has about 16 per cent market share.
Sumitomo said Axcelis has lost market share and earnings since its first offer. Revenue has declined 27 per cent from its peak in the fourth quarter of 2006, and the company has recorded losses in the last two quarters, it said.