CEO: Luis Müller

Revenue: $352.7 million in 2017;

$282.1 million in 2016

Net income: $32.8 million in 2017; $3 million in 2016

No. of local employees: 282

Headquarters: Poway

Year afounded: 1947, as Kalbfell Lab

Stock symbol and exchange: COHU on Nasdaq

Company description: Maker of semiconductor test equipment

— The leaders of Poway-based Cohu Inc. saw opportunity when U.S. regulators blocked a Chinese company from acquiring a competitor.

Cohu saw that competitor, Massachusetts-based Xcerra Corp., as a good addition to its own business.

Once the Massachusetts firm signed a termination agreement with Hubei Xinyan Equity Investment Partnership, executives from Cohu (Nasdaq: COHU) immediately and discreetly approached Xcerra (Nasdaq: XCRA) saying they would like to buy the company, according to securities filings.

Xcerra Buy

Xcerra’s board and management considered their options, did their due diligence, entered negotiations and ultimately accepted a $796 million offer to buy, which the two companies made public May 8.

Cohu is offering $9 per share in cash and 0.2109 Cohu shares for each share of Xcerra stock. The acquisition is expected to close before the end of the year. When it closes, Xcerra shareholders are expected to own roughly 30 percent of the combined company.

Thumbs Down By CFIUS

Xcerra announced it signed a termination agreement with Hubei Xinyan on Feb. 22, after the federal Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) said it would not approve the Chinese company’s plan to buy Xcerra.

Similar stories played out in the San Diego market over the last 18 months. Broadcom Inc.’s (Nasdaq: AVGO) proposed acquisition of Qualcomm Inc. (Nasdaq: QCOM) also came under CFIUS scrutiny, and was ultimately ended by President Donald Trump in March.

One year earlier, San Diego-based Inseego Corp. (Nasdaq: INSG) tried to sell its Novatel Wireless hot spot business to a Hong Kong company, but could not get CFIUS approval for the deal.

Cohu executives could not be reached as they were occupied with a major trade show.

In slides prepared for an investor presentation, Cohu said it looks for acquisition opportunities in profitable, complementary markets, adding the Xcerra acquisition will diversify Cohu’s revenue base and increase its total addressable market to $5 billion.


Cohu CEO Luis Müller and Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Jones are expected to keep their roles at the combined company, according to a securities filing from May. The new board will contain two directors from Xcerra and five directors from Cohu.