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Cree selling lighting business to Ideal Industries for $310M, will focus on semiconductors

March 18, 2019
The transaction sharpens Cree’s strategic focus as a powerhouse semiconductor company
DURHAM, NC—Cree, Inc. has announced the execution of a definitive agreement to sell its Lighting Products business unit (“Cree Lighting”), which includes the LED lighting fixtures, lamps, and corporate lighting solutions business for commercial, industrial, and consumer applications, to IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. for approximately $310 million before tax impacts, including up-front and contingent consideration and the assumption of certain liabilities. Cree expects to receive an initial cash payment of $225 million, subject to purchase price adjustments, and has the potential to receive a targeted earn-out payment of approximately $85 million based on an adjusted EBITDA metric for Cree Lighting over a 12-month period beginning two years after the transaction closes.

The agreement continues Cree’s strategy, announced in February 2018, to create a more focused, powerhouse semiconductor company, providing growth capital for Wolfspeed, its core Power and RF business, and equips Cree with additional resources to expand its semiconductor operations. The deal also enables Cree Lighting to gain additional global focus, channel support, and investment as it becomes a growth engine for the IDEAL team.

“Cree has made significant progress over the last 18 months in sharpening the focus of our business to become a semiconductor powerhouse in Silicon Carbide and GaN technologies. Over that time frame, we have grown Wolfspeed by more than 100%, acquired the Infineon RF business, more than doubled our manufacturing capacity of Silicon Carbide materials, and signed multiple long-term supply agreements, which, in aggregate, are in excess of $500 million.

"With the addition of today’s lighting divestiture news, Cree is well positioned as a more focused semiconductor leader. Cree’s technologies are at the forefront of the automotive industry’s transition to zero-emission electric vehicles, the telecommunications industry’s move to faster 5G networks, and the continued ramp-up of LEDs for specialty applications. Our leadership in Silicon Carbide and GaN position us well to capitalize on the tremendous advantages that these technologies offer our customers."

IDEAL is a fourth-generation, family-owned, growing global company, serving as a market leader in electric power control and management. Cree Lighting’s portfolio and SmartCast Technology are complementary to IDEAL’s advanced control business and channel of suppliers, distributors, agents, and customer relationships.

"This transaction provides significant resources to help accelerate Wolfspeed’s growth while providing a terrific growth opportunity for the Lighting Business and its employees through an expanded channel that strengthens its market position," Lowe continued. "We believe this decision benefits the company and our employees, shareholders and customers as it unlocks value, increases management focus on the core business and supports our mission to accelerate silicon carbide adoption.”

The closing of the transaction is anticipated to occur in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, and is subject to receipt of required regulatory approvals and satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

Based on the agreement to sell Cree Lighting, it will be classified as discontinued operations as of FY19 3Q. As a result, Cree is updating its guidance to reflect continuing operations only.

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