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Publisher To Purchase Arizona Firm

A small Spokane publisher of investment books has reached a tentative agreement to purchase a Phoenix company that specializes in refurbishing computer chip-making equipment.

Terms are still being negotiated, said Greg Ruff, president of Investment Book Publishers Inc. of Spokane.

He said a combination of factors brought the unlikely couple to the corporate altar.

His 17-month-old company has struggled against intense competition in its chosen niche, Ruff said. “We thought it would be good for our shareholders to explore other avenues.”

Meanwhile, he said, officials of Accord Semiconductor Equipment Group Inc. were looking to take their four-year-old company public.

Ruff said Accord’s executives had arranged $5 million in financing to support a major transaction with a Japanese firm, but the investment group did not want to go forward unless Accord was publicly held.

“They found us,” Ruff said.

Accord, with $5 million in sales last year, rebuilds and upgrades chip-making equipment, particularly that manufactured by Applied Materials, a leader in the industry.

Ruff said Accord was formed by several Applied Materials engineers who saw a potential market for used devices made by the company.

In some cases, he said, the equipment is upgraded for its owner, who gets extended warranty protection. In others, Accord buys wafer-handling systems and similar devices and resells them after reconditioning.

Clients have included Micron Semiconductor, Honeywell, Motorola and Eastman Kodak Co.

If the acquisition is completed, the new company will be named Accord Advanced Technologies Inc.

Ruff said officials of the would-be company are still discussing the ownership split between holders of shares in the publishing company and privately held Accord.

He said officials hope to list Accord shares on the NASDAQ national over-the-counter market.

Investment Book Publishers is traded on the National Association of Securities Dealers bulletin board.

, DataTimes

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