Applied buys rival Varian

CHIP equipment maker Applied Materials will buy rival Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates for $4.9bn (£2.96bn) in cash, as it looks to cement its edge in chipmaking technology to meet the rising demand from smartphone and solar equipment makers.

Varian provides chipmakers with ion implantation gear for making integrated circuits, or chips, found in all modern electronic gadgets. It is a complex process of implanting ions around which the structure of the chip will eventually be built.

The Varian deal comes a month after Texas Instruments’ acquisition of National Semiconductor for $6.5bn, paying a 78 per cent premium to merge two of the industry’s oldest firms into a dominant force in analogue microchips.