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Micron, Photronics form JV

A leading chipmaker and a major photomask house have formed a joint venture to develop and produce masks for leading-edge and advanced next-generation semiconductors. Micron and Photronics will partner in the newly established MP Mask Technology Center. As part of the JV’s creation, Photronics will invest $135 million over a three-year period while Micron will contribute its existing mask center in Boise, ID, to the new company. The two partners have also entered into a technology license agreement and certain supply agreements. They also intend to build an independent state-of-the-art NanoFab in Boise that will be operated by Photronics for volume production of advanced masks, both for Micron and other Photronics customers. The companies say that the facility should be completed and begin qualification by the end of 2007.

TEL launches VC unit

Joining the likes of equipment rivals KLA-Tencor and Applied Materials, Tokyo Electron will form a venture capital unit. TEL Venture Capital will be established July 1 and will make strategic and early-stage investments in companies with promising technological innovations. The company says it will invest up to $10 million annually, both in start-ups with links to TEL’s core businesses and with those in more diversified areas. Mitsuyuki Yamaguchi will be the president of the new subsidiary, which will be based in California to take advantage of Silicon Valley’s venture capital community.

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