If you have an ACS member number, please enter it here so we can link this account to your membership. (optional)

ACS values your privacy. By submitting your information, you are gaining access to C&EN and subscribing to our weekly newsletter. We use the information you provide to make your reading experience better, and we will never sell your data to third party members.


Electronic Materials

DuPont to buy electronic chemical maker Laird Performance Materials for $2.3 billion

The deal is the largest of several recent investments in materials for electronics

by Craig Bettenhausen
March 9, 2021

A photo of a robot squirting some blue paste onto a computer chip.
Credit: Laird Performance Materials
With the acquisition, DuPont will add a range of materials, like this thermal putty, that manage heat and electromagnetic radiation in electronic devices.

After signaling earlier this year that it was done shedding business lines, DuPont is turning to growth with the planned acquisition of Laird Performance Materials for $2.3 billion. The deal is one of several recent investments by chemical makers seeking to tap into growth in the electronics industry.

Laird makes chemicals and materials that manage heat and provide electromagnetic shielding for electronic devices. It employs 4,300 people at 11 sites around the world and reported 2020 sales of $465 million. It will become part of DuPont’s electronics and industrial division, one of three divisions at the slimmed-down firm.

DuPont will buy Laird from the private equity firm Advent International using cash it has on hand. In January, DuPont completed the sale of its nutrition and biosciences business to International Flavors & Fragrances for $7.3 billion. At the time, it said it would use part of the proceeds to retire $5 billion in debt, and invest the rest.

Betting on electronic chemicals may be a smart move. The consulting firm BCC Research says the sector will grow from $55.5 billion in 2020 to $75.1 billion in 2025, with about two-thirds of that growth coming from semiconductors and the rest from displays. DuPont cites autonomous vehicles, 5G wireless, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, and high-performance computing as key drivers for the industry.

DuPont is not the only chemical company thinking along those lines. For example, LCY Chemical recently said it will build an electronics-grade isopropyl alcohol plant in Arizona to support customers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., which is planning a $12 billion chip plant in Phoenix.

Merck KGaA, meanwhile, has renamed its Performance Materials division Electronics to emphasize the business’s focus on the electronics industry. The rebranding follows Merck’s 2019 purchase of the electronic chemical supplier Versum Materials for close to $7 billion.

Merck recently spent $22 million to buy the manufacturing, R&D, and office space in Tempe, Arizona, that Versum had rented for almost a decade.



This article has been sent to the following recipient:

Chemistry matters. Join us to get the news you need.