While $1.5 billion might seem like a lot of money, it isn’t when compared to the original offer made by a Chinese consortium last year for the Dutch conglomerate Philips NV: $2.8 billion.
So what got between Philips and about $1.3 billion? A secretive US-government interagency group known as the CFIUS- Committee on Foreign Investment in the US. The group examines global deals and assesses their risk value in terms of national security.
Philips was ready to sell about an 80 percent stake in its LED lighting unit whose entire worth was estimated to be close to $3.3 billion. But after the CRIUS raised some questions about some unspecified issues, the deal was dropped.
Now there is a new deal. It will be selling the same 80 percent of the unit to a New York private equity firm, Apollo Global Management. Apollo will pay $1.5 billion, almost half of what the Chinese deal was worth. After the CFIUS gave the Chinese deal a thumbs down, the pool of possible buyers shrunk drastically, helping to push the price way down. Philips Chief Executive Frans van Houten said it is highly unlikely the CFIUS will question this deal, since Apollo is based in the US.