AST Research Inc. today announced that it will receive $US60 million from Samsung Electronics Inc. to help pay off a $90 million promissory note due to Tandy Corp. The debt resulted from the 1993 acquisition by AST of Tandy's PC manufacturing operations. In return for the $US60 million, Samsung will receive an equal value of newly issued AST shares, which could bring Samsung's total ownership of shares and options up to a maximum 49.9%. Any amount still owed to Samsung beyond the 49.9% limit would be paid in the form of a three-year promissory note, according to Emory Epperson, corporate communications manager for AST. AST is currently in discussions with Tandy to satisfy the promissory note's remaining balance of $US30 million with a combination of cash or newly issued shares.
AST also announced that it has entered into a $US15 million intellectual property assignment agreement with Samsung to transfer three families of patent applications to Samsung. The patent applications relate to a semiconductor chip design project that was under way at AST during 1994 and 1995, but which was not used by AST. Samsung also obtained an option to acquire eight additional families of patent applications that came from the same semiconductor chip design project, at a price to be determined in the future. AST will obtain perpetual license under the patent applications.