Seeking Alpha

Tower Semi to Buy Jazz, Laying a Troubled SPAC to Rest

Includes: JAZ, TSEM
by: Eric Savitz

Tower Semiconductor (NASDAQ:TSEM) has agreed to buy Jazz Technologies (JAZ) for $40 million in stock plus the assumption of debt; total transaction value is $169 million. Each Jazz share will be converted into the right to receive 1.8 Tower shares. In February, Jazz had announced that it was seeking a buyer.

This isn’t a big deal, but it has some interesting elements. Jazz came public in 2006, raising $150 million in a $6 a share offering; the company started life as a SPAC, a special purpose acquisition company, known as Acquicor Technologies. A SPAC, of course, is basically a gussied-up blind pool; the concept has become quite popular. The idea is that you start a company, raise a bunch of money, and then go out and find an operating business. Acquicor’s selling point was the involvement of former Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) execs Steve Wozniak, Ellen Hancock and Gil Amelio. While it is unclear if Wozniak and Hancock remain investors in the company - both are former officers of the company - Amelio serves as the current CEO.

Anyway, Acquicor eventually went out and bought a small foundry called Jazz Semiconductor which had been spun-off from Conexant (NYSEARCA:CNXT); the company then adopted the Jazz Technologies name. Unfortunately for investors, the company had operating troubles, and the stock sank.

For anyone who bought Acquicor shares and held on, it’s been a miserable experience. Today, they holder get to enjoy a big rally: Jazz shares are up 58 cents, or 68%, to $1.43. But that’s down 76% from the IPO.