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KLA Signals Competitors May be Poaching Its Customers
Company omits language that reassures investors about customer relationship strength.
February 19, 2021
KLA Corporation (KLAC), a designer and manufacturer of process control and yield management solutions for the semiconductor industry, is hinting that it may no longer be as difficult for competitors to poach its customers. In the prior quarter’s 10-Q (Q3 2020), KLA highlighted how difficult it is for competitors to disrupt KLA’s existing customer relationships:

“Similarly, we expect it to be challenging for a competitor to sell its products to a given customer for a specific production line application if that customer initially selects our equipment.”

In its Q4 2020 10-Q, KLA omits the above statement— suggesting existing customer relationships may not be as impenetrable as previously thought— but reiterates how difficult it is for KLA to poach its competitors’ customers:

“...we expect it to be more difficult to sell our products to a given customer for that specific production line application and other similar production line applications if that customer initially selects a competitor’s equipment.”

The statement omitted this quarter has been included in KLA’s 10-Qs for at least the last ten quarters, or two-and-a-half years. Beyond that, we conducted a spot check and found the statement in KLA’s Q4 2014 10-Q, six years ago. The omission is not an accident. Investors and analysts will be well-served monitoring for competitive takeaways.
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