It isn’t easy to create a new brand that will replace two names that have been familiar to chip manufacturers for almost five decades. But that’s what Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron are announcing today. The world’s largest chip equipment manufacturers expect to close a merger in the second half of this year, and the resulting company’s name will be Eteris.
There’s a story behind the exercise of creating the new name and the thinking behind it. The general public may not find it exciting. But in chip equipment, the combination of these two companies is creating a behemoth. If government regulators approve the deal, Eteris will have even more market share in semiconductor manufacturing equipment than Intel does in the chip business.
Joe Pon, the vice president of communications and public affairs at Applied Materials, said in an exclusive interview with VentureBeat that the top executives from the Santa Clara, Calif.-based Applied Materials and the Japan-based Tokyo Electron worked on the name change together. It’s a reflection of their expectation that the new company will be a merger of equals.
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“So often in high tech, they just merge two names together,” Pon said. “We decided to choose a new name that represents us as a new company. We were given the rare chance to create a new brand.”
The “Eteris” name is a shortened form of “eternal innovation for society.” That name is both “confident” and “warm,” according to Pon.
That meant getting rid of the brand name of Applied Materials, founded in 1967, and Tokyo Electron, founded in 1963. Together, the two companies would have a combined market value of about $40 billion based on current stock market valuations.
“The new name for our combined company builds on the strong legacies of Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron, creating something even greater than the sum of the two,” said Tetsuro Higashi, the chairman, president, and CEO of Tokyo Electron, in a statement. “At the time we announced our plans to merge, we said this was a bold step forward for our industry. The name Eteris demonstrates our commitment to a new and exciting future for our company to create and enable technology innovations that improve the way people live.”
“Eteris is innovative and forward-looking and our logo symbolizes expanding future opportunities driving a new era of innovation and growth,” said Gary Dickerson, the president and CEO of Applied Materials, in a statement. “With a new name, mission and vision, we are bringing our new company into focus so that we can move quickly, execute our combined strategy and begin to create value as soon as the merger closes.”
“The logo mark also has meaning,” Pon said. The image looks like a multicolored display and a spark of innovation. The bright green square represents energy, which is the foundation for innovations that spread outward.
“Our purpose is to create a new global innovator,” Pon said. “It has a global context to it, and it was a courageous decision for the executives to build a new unified brand.”
The companies are announcing the new name at the Semicon West 2014 tradeshow in San Francisco. The name will go into effect once the merger is complete. Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron shareholders have voted in favor of the merger. Pon expects that to happen in the second half of the year. After that, the company will consider its advertising options to make the brand known.
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