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Trump halts Broadcoms' bid for Qualcomm claiming national security is at risk

13 March 2018

In the official executive order statement regarding the proposed takeover Trump has prohibited the takeover as well as prohibited any mergers, acquisitions, or takeovers that are deemed to be "substantially equal" in nature, which essentially means that no deal like this between the two companies will ever take place in the future either.

The Trump administration is concerned about the U.S. losing ground in 5G technology, the latest iteration of wireless technology, which is expected to greatly improve wireless networks and prove essential to the next generation of self-driving cars as well as other technologies.

The news extends President Trump's tough stance on foreign investment in America.

Under the order, both Broadcom and Qualcomm must report to CFIUS every week indicating their compliance with the order, that including descriptions of their work in completely and permanent terminating the takeover plans. Neither company responded immediately to a request for comment.

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Though Broadcom is based in Singapore, the principal worry rests with China. "In short, US national security concerns are not a risk to closing, as Broadcom never plans to acquire Qualcomm before it completes redomiciliation". Pentagon officials insisted on a review of Broadcom's proxy battle, while the USA treasury department had pushed back, according to people familiar with the matter.

Due to the CFIUS investigation, Qualcomm delayed by a month to 5 April its annual meeting, during which shareholders will vote on Broadcom's slate of six nominees to Qualcomm's 11-member board. Before waiting for an actual deal, CFIUS opened an investigation to review the risks to national security. "I don't know that they are going to be able to wiggle their way free just by re-domiciling".

US President Donald Trump's shut down of Broadcom Limited's attempted takeover of chip maker Qualcomm Inc puts a cloud over potential deals for US assets by foreign companies with Chinese connections. Qualcomm shares slipped by $2.71, or slightly more than 4 percent, to $60.04 a share. The company has relied on cost cuts from acquisitions to propel its profit higher and most likely would have needed to cut deeply at Qualcomm to maintain its investment-grade credit rating at the latest proposed $79-a-share bid.

In an effort to alleviate these concerns, Broadcom has been rushing to redomicile (legally move the company) to the United States. It also has classified contracts with the Department of Defense, according to the Treasury Department. Furthermore the candidates that Broadcom was running for Qualcomm's board of directors are barred from participating in that election, and Qualcomm can not accept their nominations.

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Qualcomm is embroiled in a fierce legal fight with Apple over the amount it charges for use of its patents, and Broadcom CEO Tan has said Qualcomm's patent licensing business model is "broken".

"Broadcom strongly disagrees that its proposed acquisition of Qualcomm raises any national security concerns", it said in a statement in response to the decision.

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Trump halts Broadcoms' bid for Qualcomm claiming national security is at risk