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Why CFIUS Is Intervening in Broadcom's Qualcomm Bid

08 March 2018

Broadcoms acquisition of Qualcomm may be in trouble from an unexpected source. The company reiterated that it expects to complete the process of redomiciling to the United States from Singapore no later than 06 May. Qualcomm said in response that Broadcom misinterpreted the public's and investors' mind while ignoring national security issues and regulatory matters.

Qualcomm just concluded its 5G day in San Diego, California, where it showed off a number of new demos showcasing what the new Snapdragon 845 can do.

The U.S. government has outlined key concerns about Broadcom 's proposed merger with Qualcomm, including national security and a risk that Qualcomm could lose ground to China on developing 5G wireless network technology. The review will be conducted by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFUS), a body chaired by the US Treasury that can recommend deals be blocked.

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Advisers for Singapore-based Broadcom told a Qualcomm shareholder that the company is accelerating its plans to re-domicile to the US, The Post has learned.

Qualcomm's shareholder meeting is now scheduled for April 5. But the Treasury Department expects Broadcom to scale back on long-term investment, including in R&D, if the acquisition goes through. The delayed meeting and CFIUS investigation are the latest roadblocks the Singapore-based Broadcom has faced in its attempts to acquire Qualcomm.

The government action on March 4 highlighted growing US concerns about safeguarding semiconductor technology and cast a doubt on the deal's success.

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A source said if the deal was completed, the USA military was concerned that within 10 years, "there would essentially be a dominant player in all of these technologies and that is essentially Huawei, and then the American carriers would have no choice". If Qualcomm weren't the company setting the standard for wireless innovation going forward, it could impact national security, the letter goes on to say.

Broadcom has been working to take over rival Qualcomm for weeks and the two companies were closing in on a deal before they disagreed on a price - prompting an attempted hostile takeover. "Broadcom's dismissive rhetoric notwithstanding, this is a very serious matter for both Qualcomm and Broadcom", Qualcomm said in a statement.

Ultimately, the CFIUS will look at the deal from a national security standpoint. The department pointed to the Chinese company Huawei Technologies as a potential threat; Huawei has a growing 5G patent portfolio and could pave the way for Chinese government control over the sector, it claimed. Broadcom is also looking to become a US company registered in business friendly DE, before the stockholder vote.

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The risks of the potential deal "warrant a full investigation".

Why CFIUS Is Intervening in Broadcom's Qualcomm Bid