Why Trump blocked Broadcom's $117-bn bid to buy Qualcomm?


The company said Wednesday that it had withdrawn its $117 billion offer to buy Qualcomm two days after President Trump stopped the deal, citing national security concerns.

But the United States is anxious that a takeover would dramatically reduce investment and research at Qualcomm, giving an advantage to China.

Well before Qualcomm Inc. confronted a hostile takeover bid from Broadcom Ltd.

The inter-agency panel, led by the Treasury Department, scrutinizes deals that could give foreign firms control of U.S. companies.

Being based in the United States as opposed to Singapore will allow Broadcom to make what it believes will be acquisitions of U.S. companies that will not fall within the jurisdiction of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which scrutinises deals for potential national security concerns.

5G remains in the early stages of development. A Qualcomm acquisition would have amounted to the largest technology deal in history.

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Qualcomm has always been a leader in previous iterations of broadband cellular network technologies like 3G and 4G and poured research and development money into developing 5G technology and related standards and practices.

Brent Iadarola, Frost & Sullivan's vice president of mobile and wireless communications, tells Channel Partners the administration's stance is distinctly based on national security sensitivities, so "I can't envision any scenario where this transaction is brought to fruition while Trump is in office". Lawmakers accused the company of having close links to Beijing, and said it posed a threat to United States national security. European-based companies could do the same, too. A spokesperson for Huawei did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Other analysts flagged trade tensions with the United States as potential headwinds for China.

Broadcom's ambitions sparked US government concerns over which country will dominate the technology, as well as fears over national security. Broadcom's company's physical headquarters is already in San Jose, California - about 450 miles from Qualcomm's headquarters in San Diego. "He's of the view that there is a lot of value to be extracted from this industry", said Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon.

"The cases [against the deal] as laid out feel very weak to us, but politics is politics", Rasgon wrote earlier in March.