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14 March 2018, 12:07 | Vera Richards
Trump blocks Broadcom's attempt to buy Qualcomm
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in his capacity as the chair of the CFIUS, said Trumps decision was consistent with the administrations commitment to take all actions necessary to protect the national security of the US.
Qualcomm is now the third biggest chipmaker in the world after Intel and Samsung, but is considered by many analysts to be the leader in developing 5G chips, followed by Broadcom and Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Tan argued that combining Broadcom and Qualcomm would further USA interests by advancing the development of the next generation of wireless technology known as 5G, according to a person familiar with the meeting.
Huawei has been forging closer commercial ties with big telecom operators across Europe and Asia, putting it in prime position to lead the global race for 5G networks despite US concerns. It is also to be noted that Broadcom is planning to move its headquarters to the USA, it would be interesting to see what rules will be followed by Broadcom in doing so, and how is Trump administration going to take it.
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"Qualcomm Incorporated today received a Presidential Order to immediately and permanently abandon the proposed takeover of Qualcomm by Broadcom Limited", the company said. Nearly every major business and consumer electronics manufacturer uses Qualcomm'stechnology as brains for their devices. Qualcomm is also compelled to reconvene its 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders on the earliest possible date, which based on the required 10-day notice period, is March 23, 2018. Despite this, Intel might still put in an offer to buy its rival chipmaker regardless of the outcome.
Intel of course, are no strangers to Washington offices, and Intel CEO Brian Krzanich served on Trump's Manufacturing Initiative advisory board until August past year.
The other manufacturer with a dog in the fight (and a bone to pick with the U.S. government) is of course Huawei. The agency believes that the acquisition would give a foreign entity control of a US business. We saw this recently when the government blocked United States carriers from offering Huawei's flagship phones.
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The reaction of the White House is unusually quick and surprising. It would also have been the biggest takeover the technology sector had ever seen.
Most analysts assume Broadcom will now walk away from Qualcomm, with some flagging San Jose-based Xilinx Inc and Israel's Mellanox Technologies Ltd, both diversified makers of communications chips, as likely next targets.
There is still the matter of their dispute with Apple (AAPL) over licensing fees, but, as this Seeking Alpha piece by Mark Hibben points out, a dispassionate view of the agreement makes that look like a standard licensing deal, so an eventual ruling in Qualcomm's favor is the most likely outcome. Their markets combined would have been worth in billions of dollars.
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