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Germany withdraws clearance for Chinese takeover of Aixtron

48839491 china germany-855918804_v2.jpg
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, left, shakes hands with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao after a joint press conference at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
Ng Han Guan

The German government has withdrawn its approval for a Chinese takeover of chip equipment maker Aixtron,throwing up an unexpected hurdle for a 670-million-euro ($728 million) deal on the home stretch and sending Aixtron's shares lower.

Aixtron said on Monday that the Economy Ministry had withdrawn the clearance certificate for China's Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund LP (FGC), granted on Sept. 8, and announced plans to reopen a review of the takeover.

Takeovers by Chinese investors have prompted the German government to consider whether it needs to do more to protect key technologies.

Chinese household appliance manufacturer Midea bought German industrial robot maker Kuka for 4.5 billion euros this year and Chinese chipmaker Sanan Optoelectronics has said it had been in contact with lighting group Osram about a potential acquisition or cooperation deal.

FGC's offer for Aixtron ended on Friday. It said about 65 percent of shares in Aixtron had been tendered by 1200 GMT, 10 hours before the end of the acceptance period, which would be enough for the deal to go through.

Shares in Aixtron dropped 6 percent in pre-market trade at brokerage Lang & Schwarz.

The Economy Ministry was not immediately available for comment.

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