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Eric Savitz (Barron's) submits: Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE:FSL) announced Friday afternoon that it had agreed to be acquired for $40 a share by a consortium led by Blackstone Group and including Carlyle Group, Permira Funds and Texas Pacific Group. The company said the value of the deal is $17.6 billion, which makes it the largest buyout ever of a technology company, topping the $11.3 billion buyout of SunGard Data Systems. The Blackstone offer beat a competing bid from a group that included Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital, Apax Partners and Silver Lake Partners.

The Freescale release said its board has unanimously approved the deal, which is not subject to financing.

Freescale, which makes chips used in cellphones, autos, networking equipment and other products, was spun off from Motorola (MOT) in 2004. Motorola remains Freescale’s biggest customer, accounting for 27% of Freescale’s revenues in 2005.

News that Freescale was in discussions to be acquired were first reported late Sunday night by the New York Times.

With Freescale in play, the Street has been engaged in rampant speculation about what other chip companies might go private - see this post on Merrill Lynch’s LBO target list, and this one on Morgan Stanley’s list.

My colleagues over at the WSJ’s LawBlog this afternoon noted that Freescale’s legal adviser was none other than Larry Sonsini, who has lately been entangled in the HP pretexting scandal.

In after-hours trading, Freescale shares gained $2.29, to $39.45. Last Friday, before the Times broke news that the company was in talks to be acquired, the shares closed at $30.75.

FSL 1-year chart:

Source: Freescale To Be Bought Out For $40 Per Share