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Why Shares of Lattice Semiconductor Are Surging Today

By Timothy Green - Apr 13, 2016 at 12:11PM

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A state-owned Chinese company has acquired a stake in the semiconductor company, fueling buyout speculation.

Image source: Lattice Semiconductor.

What: Shares of Lattice Semiconductor (LSCC -3.98%) surged on Wednesday following news that Tsinghua Unigroup, a subsidiary of Tsinghua Holdings, a Chinese state-owned company, had acquired a 6% stake in the company. At 11:20 a.m. ET Wednesday, the stock was up about 15.5%.

So what: Back in February, Reuters reported that Lattice Semiconductor was exploring a sale, attracting interest from a prospective Chinese buyer. A deal hasn't materialized thus far, but Tsinghua Unigroup buying a sizable stake in the company could be fueling speculation that Lattice will sell itself sooner rather than later.

Lattice's results have been poor in recent quarters. When the company reported its fourth-quarter results in February, it badly missed analyst estimates for both revenue and earnings, and its guidance was well below expectations. Lattice posted a net loss of $159 million in 2015 on $406 million of revenue, ending a two-year streak of profitability.

Now what: It's unclear whether the move by Tsinghua Unigroup to acquire a stake in Lattice has any implications for a possible buyout, but investors apparently think so, sending the stock soaring on the news. Whether a full buyout would be approved by U.S. regulators is another story. Various deals over the past year for U.S. semiconductor companies, including a $23 billion bid from Tsinghua Unigroup for memory chip maker Micron, and a $2.5 billion bid for Fairchild Semiconductor, were scrapped because of regulatory concerns.

As always, buying a stock solely on the hopes that the company will be acquired is generally a risky move.

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