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Broadcom may abandon Qualcomm bid after Trump opposition

US President Donald Trump blocked the deal citing national security risks.

tech Updated: Mar 14, 2018 10:29 IST
Trump Blocks Broadcom,Trump Broadcom,Broadcom
Broadcom’s bid to takeover Qualcomm hits a big hurdle.(REUTERS)

Broadcom will formally abandon its attempt to acquire rival chipmaker Qualcomm after US President Donald Trump blocked the deal citing national security risks, according to people familiar with its plans.

An announcement, which would bring to an end a months-long battle to land the technology industry’s biggest ever deal, is planned for early Wednesday morning, according to the people, who asked not to be identified ahead of the official statement.

The retreat ends Chief Executive Officer Hock Tan’s most ambitious move yet in his efforts to build a chip empire, after leading Broadcom through a string of deals that have reshaped the $400 billion semiconductor industry in the last several years. The company launched its unsolicited bid in November and was quickly and repeatedly rebuffed by Qualcomm’s management and board. Singapore-based Broadcom had been gathering support from investors to overturn its target’s resistance to a deal.

An investigation of the deal by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US, which reviews purchases of American businesses by foreign investors, confirmed national security threats related to the acquisition by Broadcom, the Treasury Department said in a second letter to both companies made public March 12. Later that day Trump took the committee’s recommendation and banned the deal.

CFIUS on March 4 ordered Qualcomm to postpone a shareholder meeting to vote on Broadcom’s nominees as directors of the target. Broadcom aimed to win control of the board so it could advance with its hostile takeover. Treasury said Broadcom violated that order by not giving proper notice about moving its headquarters to the U.S.

The agency also cited the Defense Department’s reliance on products made by Qualcomm, which is based in San Diego. The company has “active sole source classified prime contracts” with the Pentagon, according to a letter from Treasury.

The letter prompted Qualcomm to postpone a March 6 annual meeting, where shareholders were to vote on board candidates, including six nominated by Broadcom. According to voting return data seen by Bloomberg, Broadcom was on course to win control of the board that had been resisting its overture.

First Published: Mar 14, 2018 09:31 IST