U.S. Markets open in 6 hrs 4 mins

US DOJ clears Cymer and ASML deal

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Justice has cleared the way for ASML Holding NV to move forward with its $2.55 billion acquisition of Cymer Inc.

The Dutch company, which is the biggest supplier of equipment to semiconductor manufacturers, announced in October that it planned to buy Cymer, based in San Diego, in a cash and stock deal.

Cymer's technology makes focused beams of light. ASML uses such beams in machines to trace out the circuits of computer chips.

ASML is a key supplier for the biggest chipmakers, including Intel Corp., Samsung Inc. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co.

The two companies said Friday that the Department of Justice's Antitrust Division has approved the deal. That follows approval by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, as well as the Taiwanese, German and Israeli antitrust authorities. Cymer stockholders have already approved the deal.

ASML and Cymer must still get approval from governments in South Korea and Japan. The companies expect the transaction will close in the first half of the year.

ASML's U.S. traded shares added 63 cents to close at $66.71 and added 43 cents in after-hours trading on the news. Cymer's shares added 56 cents to close at $94.80 and jumped 2.5 percent to $97.17 in after-hours trading following the announcement.