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Qualcomm Delays Vote As CFIUS Looks At $117B Broadcom Bid

06 March 2018

Over the weekend, Broadcom was told that Qualcomm filed a voluntary request with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) to investigate the acquisition's potential national security issues.

Qualcomm shareholders were due to meet Tuesday, but Broadcom said it was informed Sunday night that Qualcomm filed a voluntary request on January 29 for United States regulators to investigate the deal, and was ordered to postpone the meeting for 30 days.

In a statement Monday, Broadcom blamed Qualcomm for spurring the intervention - and called the move by CFIUS "a blatant, desperate act by Qualcomm to entrench its incumbent board of directors and prevent its own stockholders from voting for Broadcom's independent director nominees".

Separately, Broadcom said the decision was the result of secret moves made by Qualcomm on January 29 to encourage an investigation into the proposed $117 billion (roughly Rs. 7.6 lakh crores) buyout offer.

Regardless of which side one believes, the NYT says the intervention of the United States government before a takeover agreement is even reached is somewhat unusual and reflects "a charged political atmosphere in which scrutiny of takeovers of American companies by worldwide challengers has increased drastically".

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"Broadcom, which is run by a Board of Directors and senior management team consisting nearly entirely of Americans, and which is largely owned by the same United States institutional investors that own Qualcomm, recognizes the important role CFIUS plays in protecting our national security, and is fully committed to cooperating with CFIUS in any review, just as Broadcom did during its prior successful acquisitions, including its acquisition of Brocade at the end of 2017", Broadcom said in its own statement.

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Broadcom's dismissive rhetoric notwithstanding, this is a very serious matter for both Qualcomm and Broadcom.

Qualcomm is known for mobile chip innovations that set industry standards, for example in new superfast 5G wireless connection technology, the analyst 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 previous year alone.

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"Broadcom's dismissive rhetoric notwithstanding, this is a very serious matter for both Qualcomm and Broadcom", the United States chipmaker said.

"This measure will afford CFIUS the ability to investigate fully Broadcom's proposed acquisition of Qualcomm", the U.S. Department of Treasury said in a statement. The takeover was to have come at a meeting scheduled for tomorrow, March 6. The offer has since been raised, but then dropped again after Qualcomm bought NXP.

Qualcomm went on to challenge an assertion that wasn't exactly what Broadcom had asserted.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, as well as San Diego-area Congressmen Scott Peters, a Democrat, and Duncan Hunter, a Republican, sent letters to Trump Administration officials requesting a CFIUS review. "It typically doesn't weigh a transaction until a deal is reached".

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Qualcomm Delays Vote As CFIUS Looks At $117B Broadcom Bid