PE Tech Report


Like this article?

Sign up to our free newsletter

Thomas H Lee Partners to acquire automation business from Brooks Automation in USD3bn cash deal

Thomas H Lee Partners, a private equity firm investing in growth companies, is to acquire Brooks Automation’s (Brooks) Semiconductor Solutions Group business (or automation business) in a transaction valued at USD3 billion. 

The transaction is expected to close in the first half of calendar year 2022 upon satisfaction of customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

This agreement will fulfil Brooks’ intention to separate its business into two independent companies, a highly innovative automation technology company with significant expertise in semiconductors and meaningful white space to expand into multi-market automation, and a pure play life sciences company, which will remain public and will adopt a new name prior to closing. The automation business, which will retain the Brooks Automation name (Brooks Automation), reported approximately USD613 million in revenue in the last twelve months ended 30 June, 2021.

Jim Carlisle, Managing Director and Head of THL’s Automation Fund, says: “THL remains focused on investing behind automation leaders, as underscored by the closing of our Automation Fund in 2020, and working with management to accelerate growth. We welcome Brooks Automation into our family of dynamic and innovative automation solution providers, and we look forward to partnering with the talented team at Brooks Automation to unlock new growth opportunities.”

“We are excited to be joining forces with THL, with whom we share a vision for the future of our business,” says David Jarzynka, President of Brooks Automation. “We are proud of the leadership position we’ve established in our industry, and THL’s resources and automation expertise will further strengthen our platform as we enter our next phase of growth.”

The era of 5G, Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence is expected to drive semiconductor industry revenue to approximately USD1 trillion by 2030, up from approximately USD450 billion today. As a result, semiconductor manufacturers are investing heavily in new automation and robotics equipment to maximize production capacity.

Michael Kaczmarek, Managing Director at THL, says: “As the number one player in vacuum robot automation and contamination control solutions, Brooks Automation is a natural fit for our portfolio of market-leading automation platform companies. We look forward to working with Brooks Automation to increase investment, enhance its technology leadership position and further expand its best-in-class product portfolio.”

“We are proud of the highly innovative automation business we have built and are confident it will reach new heights under THL’s ownership,” Brooks President & CEO Steve Schwartz added. “The talented Brooks Automation team will be well-positioned to extend its competitive advantage in partnership with THL’s commitment and automation expertise.”

Through its ninth flagship fund and its dedicated automation fund, THL leads a group of investors with global reach, significant semiconductor experience and deep automation expertise.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP acted as legal adviser and PricewaterhouseCoopers acted as accounting advisor to THL.

Like this article? Sign up to our free newsletter