Qualcomm backs out of acquiring Chinese major NXP Semiconductors: fallout of US-China squabble
28 July 2018
The strong anti-China stance adopted by the Donald Trump administration is having its impact on American companies wanting to acquire Chinese firms.
US-based major Qualcomm backed out of the biggest-ever takeover in the world’s semiconductor business (See: Qualcomm to buy NXP Semiconductors for $39 bn) , after China’s market regulator, the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) turned down its proposal to acquire NXP Semiconductors, a Chinese firm, for $44 billion.
According to SAMR, Qualcomm had failed to resolve its anti-trust concerns, but was hopeful that talks would continue with the company.
“The results of our evaluation showed that Qualcomm's latest plan could not resolve competition issues,” it pointed out. “We hope to continue to communicate with Qualcomm and that we can find a suitable solution to resolve the issues within the review period.”
But the American firm decided to abandon the move after the passing of the deadline that it had set. Steven Mollenkopf, the CEO of Qualcomm, told the media that his firm had been caught in the US-China trade war. “There were probably bigger forces at play here than just us,” he said.
Qualcomm had announced the move to acquire the Chinese firm in October 2016 and was confident the approval would come through by the end of 2017.
However, things got complicated after Singapore-based Broadcom made a futile attempt to acquire Qualcomm last year (See: Qualcomm rejects Broadcom's revised $121-bn buyout offer). In March, President Trump issued an order blocking the acquisition of Qualcomm by Broadcom, citing ‘credible evidence’ that the foreign buyer could take actions that would “threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”
Many activist investors then tried to block Qualcomm’s bid to acquire the Chinese firm by acquiring stocks in NXP and demanding a higher price. Qualcomm in fact had to raise the offer price for NXP, but it has now failed to buy the firm.