* M. Stanley, Goldman, Merrill hired as advisers -sources
* Owners CCMP, Unitas ask banks to explore sale or float
* Sources say duo hope for 1.5 billion pound valuation
* Vacuum-technology firm has top ten chipmakers as clients
By Quentin Webb and Simon Meads
LONDON, Sept 14 The owners of Edwards, a British
engineering firm whose vacuum technology is used by the world's
biggest chipmakers, have hired a trio of investment banks to
explore a $2 billion-plus sale or flotation.
People familiar with the matter said CCMP Capital and Unitas
Capital, both former buyout arms of JPMorgan, have hired Morgan
Stanley (MS.N), Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Bank of America Merrill
Lynch (BAC.N) to advise on strategic options for Edwards.
Those options are likely to include a sale to a technology
company or rival buyout firm, and an initial public offering
(IPO). The owners value Edwards at about 1.5 billion pounds
($2.3 billion), some of the people said.
Edwards competes in some areas with Applied Materials Inc
(AMAT.O), the world's top supplier of semiconductor
manufacturing equipment. It says its clients include all 10 of
the world's biggest semiconductor makers, including Advanced
Micro Devices Inc AMD.N and Korea's Hynix Semiconductor Inc
Bank of America, Edwards, and Morgan Stanley declined to
comment. CCMP, Goldman Sachs and Unitas did not immediately
respond to requests for comment.
(editing by Steve Slater)