California Firm Bids To Buy Plymouth Laser Maker

PLYMOUTH — The industrial laser maker Rofin-Sinar Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: RSTI), which has spent the past few months locked in a proxy battle with a London-based investment firm, has turned to a California competitior for a buyout.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based Coherent Inc. (Nasdaq: COHR) has bid $32.50 a share, or $942 million, for RSTI, a 42 percent premium to Rofin’s Wednesday close.

The companies said the deal is expected to close in six to nine months, provided shareholders and regulators approve. Coherent said it plans to finance the buyout with existing cash and committed debt from Barclays.

There was no immediate word on the future of Rofin-Sinar’s headquarters work force in Plymouth.

Coherent CEO John Ambroseo said in a press release: “The combination of Coherent and Rofin represents a unique opportunity to strengthen Coherent’s position in materials processing. The addition of Rofin’s complementary portfolio will build on Coherent’s capabilities as a world leader in laser and photonics-based technology and solutions and create meaningful value for our stockholders.”

In the same press release, Rofin CEO Thomas Merk said the two companies are “highly complementary both technologically and geographically.”

After the announcement, Rofin shares skyrocketed 44 percent to $33 a share, suggesting some are expecting a higher bid.

Coherent, listed as one of Fortune’s fastest growing companies in 2012, posted 2015 revenue of $802.5 million. Rofin-Sinar, based in Plymouth and Hamburg, Germany, had 2015 revenue of $519.6 million.

London-based SilverArrow Capital Advisors has claimed in several filings over the past year that Rofin-Sinar had been mismanaged. Rofin maintained its management was best for long-term shareholder value and said two of SilverArrow’s three board nominees had little business experience.

Both companies produce lasers — Coherent for scientific, commercial and industrial customers, and Rofin-Sinar for industrial material processing applications.

Coherent said it could make about $30 million in cost cuts of the combined companies within 18 to 24 months of the deal, including “increased efficiencies, leveraging the scale of the combined businesses and optimizing the combined R&D portfolio.”

RSTI said it would soon produce a proxy statement on the merger, and has delayed its annual shareholders meeting that was to be the fight with SilverArrow until the proposed Coherent deal is closer to completion.

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