December 18, 2018

Broadcom officially ends bid for Qualcomm

14 March 2018, 08:33 | Dale Webster

US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump

And just like that, Broadcom's $117 billion bid for chip maker Qualcomm is over, thanks to President Trump's order blocking the deal. That could leave the US hobbled in the race to develop next generation, 5G wireless technology, according to people familiar with the matter.

The deal would have created the world's No. 3 semiconductor company with a leading market share in smartphones, auto electronics and industrial internet devices.

In addition, lawmakers have expressed concerns in the past about foreign companies gaining a foothold in US telecom infrastructure, which could lead to spying or cybertheft.

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush ordered China National Aero-Technology Import and Export divest its stake in Mamco Manufacturing Co., an aerospace parts supplier based in the U.S.

"The case against the acquisition is inherently tied to the argument that the transaction could adversely impact USA control of the pace and progress of the development of 5G technologies", he said. A Qualcomm acquisition would have amounted to the largest technology deal in history. Trump's order, which follows an investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), also prohibited 15 of the candidates Broadcom had hoped to elect to the Qualcomm board as proxies at a March 6 shareholder meeting.

"Given well-known US national security concerns about Huawei and other Chinese telecommunications companies, a shift to Chinese dominance in 5G would have substantial negative security consequences for the United States". Broadcom's company's physical headquarters is already in San Jose, California - about 450 miles from Qualcomm's headquarters in San Diego.

Since disclosing its first bid, worth $103 billion, for Qualcomm on November 6, Broadcom has revised its bid twice, but is yet to strike a deal. The review is apparently going to end soon, but based on the data gathered so far, the investigators could recommend against the arrangement due to national security concerns.

The final tally on Broadcom's nominees was postponed by US government order, but an initial count of more than half the votes cast showed Mollenkopf getting the second-lowest number of votes among the nominees for the board.

"We'll have to see if management change is in the offing - it looks like investor confidence in management is low", said Stacy Rasgon, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. The Broadcom-Qualcomm deal is dead today, but who what could happen tomorrow and is way more worrisome.

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