Merck has acquired the OLED (organic light-emitting diodes) materials and the polymer electronics businesses of Avecia for EUR 50 million. The transaction, which will be subject to regulatory approval is expected to be completed during the first quarter of 2005.
The acquisition includes Covion Organic Semiconductors GmbH in Frankfurt, Germany, which deisgns develops and manufactures OLED materials. It also includes Avecia's polymer electronics research and development activities based in Manchester, UK.
Both the Covion OLEDs and the polymer electronics activities will be integrated into Merck's Liquid Crystals Division. Approximately 100 employees in these two units will transfer to Merck upon completion of the sale.
"It is apparent that liquid crystal displays will be the dominant flat-panel technology for some years to come,"
Merck Chairman Bernhard Scheuble said.
"During 2004, Merck further strengthened its world-market leadership position in liquid crystals, especially for the most promising high-end television applications. We see this acquisition as an opportunity to explore alternative technologies for the future."
While Covion is mainly focused on developing future applications for OLEDs, it also manufactures OLED materials for commercial applications. Covion had sales of approximately EUR 8 million in 2004.