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Canon says to buy U.S.'s Molecular Imprints

A logo of Canon Inc is pictured at the company's showroom in Tokyo October 24, 2013. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Canon Inc said on Friday it would take over Austin, Texas-based Molecular Imprints Inc, which develops nanoimprint lithography systems, in a bid to strengthen its chipmaking equipment business.

Canon has carried out joint development of next-generation semiconductor lithography systems, which plays a key role in the chip fabrication process, with Molecular Imprints and a major semiconductor maker since 2009.

Canon said it decided to make unlisted Molecular Imprints a wholly owned unit after establishing an outlook for volume production using the technology.

Canon did not disclose a price for the acquisition, which the Nikkei business daily estimated at more than 10 billion yen ($98 million).

($1 = 102.1650 Japanese yen)

(Reporting by Chang-Ran Kim; Editing by Dominic Lau)