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State-backed Japan Investment Corp is in talks to buy the country’s top chipmaker, JSR Corp, for about 1 trillion yen ($7 billion), the Nikkei business daily reported on Saturday.

The fund aims to make a tender offer as early as this year after clearing the buyout with domestic and foreign antitrust authorities, the report said. The newspaper did not cite a source for its information.

The deal would have major implications for Japan’s semiconductor strategy as the government regards microchips as strategic products to strengthen its economic security, and seeks to bolster supply chain.

If the deal goes through, JSR would delist from the Tokyo Stock Exchange as soon as 2024, according to Nikkei.

JSR could not be immediately reached for comment outside business hours. JIC and a spokesperson for Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, which oversees JIC, declined to comment.

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JSR, set up in 1957 as a government-backed synthetic rubber maker, now supplies photoresists to global chipmakers. They are used to transfer circuit patterns onto semiconductor wafers.

Activist investor ValueAct Capital held a 9.25% stake in JSR according to its latest filing in May 2021, and has an executive on the board. Ownership changes of more than 1% of a company’s shares require fresh filings.

To purchase JSR, JIC intends to establish a new company with 500 billion yen ($3.5 billion) in capital, while Mizuho Bank, a part of Mizuho Financial Group, will provide 400 billion yen in financing, Nikkei said. Mizuho Bank declined to comment.

The fund plans to raise 100 billion yen via preferred shares and subordinated loans underwritten by various banks, the newspaper said.

The deal would grant JSR, with its 30% share of the global photoresist market, greater freedom for expansion, without being constrained by worries about stock market performance, Nikkei said.

Japan’s industry ministry said in April it aimed to triple sales of semiconductors made in Japan to 15 trillion yen by 2030.

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