US lawmakers seek to block acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor by PE firm with Chinese links

US lawmakers have urged the US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to block the acquisition of US chip maker Lattice Semiconductor Corp by Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, a PE firm funded by limited partners in China which has ties to Chinese government.

In a letter signed by 22 US Congress members, they have urged US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to block the deal over security concerns saying that the transaction could disrupt the US military supply chain and possibly lead to a reliance on foreign-sourced technologies for many critical US Defense Department programs, Reuters yesterday reported.

The members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, have written to Lew since he is the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a government panel that scrutinizes the acquisitions of companies by foreign firms on national security grounds.

In November, Canyon Bridge Capital Partners struck a deal to buy US-based programmable chipmaker Lattice Semiconductor Corp for $1.3 billion, including debt. (See: PE firm Canyon Bridge Capital to buy Lattice Semiconductor for $1.3 bn) Upon closing, Lattice will be a standalone subsidiary of Canyon Bridge and Lattice's senior management team will continue to lead the business from its current headquarters in Portland, Oregon.

Lattice provides smart connectivity solutions powered by our low power FPGA, video ASSP, 60 GHz millimeter wave, and IP products to the consumer, communications, industrial, computing, and automotive markets worldwide.

Founded in 1983, the Nasdaq-listed company employs about 700 people and has annual revenues of around $300 million.

The company holds the world's third-largest market share in field programmable gate array (FPGA) devices, and second-largest share in CPLDs & SPLDs.

China has been working to develop its space program for military, commercial and scientific purposes and the US has been wary of China's motives in semiconductor deals, the report said.