March 18, 2018

Broadcom faces new hurdle as CFIUS probes Qualcomm takeover bid

06 March 2018, 01:27 | Kenneth Drake

The logo of Qualcomm is seen during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Spain

The logo of Qualcomm is seen during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Spain

Broadcom Ltd said on Monday Qualcomm Inc secretly requested an USA national security panel on January 29 to start an investigation into its proposed $117 billion buyout offer, leading to a delay in Qualcomm's March 6 shareholder meeting.

Qualcomm said Monday it will delay its upcoming shareholder vote, pausing a proxy fight with Broadcom as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States takes a closer look at the Singapore-incorporated company's hostile $117 billion bid for the California-based chipmaker.

Broadcom plans to complete a move of its headquarters from Singapore back to the United States by mid-May to remove a roadblock to the proposed deal, Reuters reported on March 2.

On Monday, Broadcom called the move an effort by Qualcomm to prevent its shareholders to expressing their views on the takeover proposal.

Trump praised the move at the time, calling Broadcom "one of the really great, great companies".

Qualcomm was scheduled to have its annual shareholders meeting today, during which Broadcom was going to try and take control of six seats on the board of directors, giving them a majority control over the company.

Broadcom had nominated 6 members to the 11-member board of Qualcomm.

But Qualcomm, in a press statement, said "Broadcom's claims that the CFIUS inquiry was a surprise to them has no basis in fact" and that Broadcom had been interacting with CFIUS "for weeks". It is critical that Qualcomm stockholders know that Qualcomm did not once mention submitting a voluntary notice to CFIUS in any of its interactions with Broadcom to date, including in the two meetings on February 14, 2018 and on February 23, 2018. The company already is run from the United States, has many US employees, and owns critical semiconductor operations and technologies, Rasgon noted.

An increasing number of devices rely on the semiconductors developed by companies like Qualcomm and Broadcom, with chip sales totaling more than $410 billion past year alone. "The now in a race with China in the development of 5G technologies, a race that will have profound impact on critical U.S. telecommunications infrastructure and on U.S. national security for years to come".

Qualcomm officials have rejected Broadcom's acquisition offers, saying that even an increased bid of $121 billion-which was reduced late last month after Qualcomm increased its own offer for chip maker NXP to $44 billion-was too low; that Qualcomm was well-positioned in such growth areas as 5G networking, data centers and artificial intelligence (AI); and that regulatory issues could pose a problem.

Qualcomm still is awaiting approval from regulators in China to acquire NXP.

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