Government Worries China Will Profit From Hostile Takeover Of US Company

The Qualcomm inquiry comes as lawmakers in Washington are considering a bill that would toughen national security reviews of overseas deals by broadening CFIUS’s authority

Broadcom, which has put forward a selection of candidates for the board of directors which it hoped to have elected at the meeting, responded to the announcement by once again accusing Qualcomm of "engagement theatre".

Part of CFIUS' current concern, which is echoed in a letter Mr Cornyn sent to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin last week, could lie in the fact that Broadcom has failed to strike a deal with Qualcomm.

Qualcomm said in a statement late on March 5 that it was delaying its 2018 annual meeting to April 5 as a result of the CFIUS order.

The CFIUS said it views 5G as important for USA national security, and that it was concerned about the potential for Chinese tech companies getting more influence into 5G development in the United States.

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Broadcom notes that it is in the process of moving its official headquarters from Singapore to the U.S., in part to assuage any worries over national security threats.

"It's hard to see a good reason why we should hand over one of our leading computer-chip makers, and thereby give Chinese companies a leg-up in the race to develop 5G and the next generation of technology", he added. Any loss of that competitiveness, the letter said, "would significantly impact USA national security".

The review of the Broadcom deal illustrates the United States government's expanding focus on the competitiveness of the national semiconductor industry as China advances, regulatory experts said. The panel has recently blocked several deals by Chinese buyers, including Ant Financial's proposed takeover of MoneyGram, a money-transfer company. Broadcom is based in Singapore.

The US move to suspend Broadcom Ltd's hostile takeover of rival Qualcomm the most high-profile example yet of the Trump administration's national security concerns about foreign purchases of American technology firms.

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Anyway, CFIUS rarely gets involved before a deal is signed – Broadcom and Qualcomm are still negotiating.

"There can be no question that an American Broadcom-Qualcomm combination will provide far more resources for investments and development", Broadcom said in a statement. Qualcomm is still waiting for a formal negotiation with Broadcom on the final bid price and other conditions.

Broadcom said on March 5 that CFIUS' intervention was the result of secret moves made by Qualcomm on January 29 to seek an investigation into the offer, which Qualcomm's board has said significantly undervalues the company. Indeed, while the two companies were undergoing a heated public battle for the hearts and minds of investors, they also were engaged in an equally intense battle to make their case with the inter-agency group of regulators.

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