Updated April 14. Shares of Synaptics (SYNA), a maker of touch screen technology, are soaring today on one of those unsourced stories–you know “people familiar with the matter”–that the company’s talks with a Chinese investor group are live again with a target for working out a deal by the end of April. Synaptics had started discussions about a deal with a state-backed Chinese investment group at the end of 2015. Those talks, with a rumored price of $110 a share, however, were thought to have suffered a fatal blow in January when Philips announced that it had canceled a deal to sell an 80% stake in its Lumileds LED lighting business to an investment group led by China’s GO Scale Capital. The cancellation followed on objections from the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to the sale of the Dutch company’s division to a Chinese investor. The thinking back in January was that the Philips cancellation showed that U.S. regulators were getting more aggressive in examining Chinese acquisitions. If that scrutiny could nix the sale of a Dutch business to a Chinese investment group, the likelihood of approval for a deal to sell a U.S. company with potentially sensitive fingerprint recognition technology was extremely low. Even though after the Philips cancellation Synaptics and its potential Chinese investors kept talking, a rumored target of announcing a deal by the end of March came and then went without any deal. The thinking today, however, is that if Synaptics is continuing to talk to a Chinese investment group, the U.S.company must have reasonable confidence that it could get approval for such a deal. Note all the caveats and assumptions in today’s logic. “If” Synaptics” is talking to Chinese investors in a serious manner, the company “must have received” some indication that regulators would approve the deal. My thinking on this is that a $110 price would yield a nice short-term profit on these shares that I added to my Jubak Picks portfolio at $92.96 on November 10, 2015. But I don’t mind holding on for longer than that to let the fundamentals of growth at Synaptics push the stock higher, as the company continues to expand markets for its technology beyond smartphones. When I added the stock to my portfolio, I calculated a $115 target price on those fundamentals. Synaptics is due to report first quarter earnings on April 28.
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