U.S. simplifies Qualcomm decision by complex means

"I raised concerns about this proposed takeover to the Treasury Department directly, and I commend the Committee on Foreign Investment in the USA for putting it on hold". Broadcom cried foul, saying this latest turn of events is an "engagement theatre", aimed at changing the will of Qualcomm stockholders. Now it looks like Broadcom's plans could be derailed, as the US Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) has launched an investigation.

Qualcomm officials countered that the Broadcom response "is a continuation of its now familiar pattern of deliberately seeking to mislead shareholders and the general public by using rhetoric rather than substance to trivialize and ignore serious regulatory and national security issues". Unsurprisingly, Broadcom says this is a desperate move on the part of Qualcomm to stop the takeover.

Broadcom had not claimed that it was surprised by the CFIUS investigation, but that it had not known that Qualcomm's voluntary request was behind the probe.

In addition, Qualcomm claims that the investigation is no surprise to Broadcom, which has been in communication with the U.S. agency "for weeks" and has made two written submissions to CFIUS itself.

Broadcom, based in Singapore, has pledged to move its headquarters to the USA, which it believes would remove CFIUS jurisdiction.

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Broadcom shareholders will vote on the proposal by May 6, after which it must be confirmed by a judge. Since Qualcomm's board of directors have rejected Broadcom's overtures, a direct appeal to shareholders is the company's last chance to see through the merger.

According to the company, CFIUS has determined there are "national security risks" to a potential Broadcom-Qualcomm merger, and so has asked Qualcomm to delay the meeting.

Broadcom is pursuing a hostile takeover of Qualcomm, which would be the largest technology deal in history, creating a giant chip maker whose products would be in the majority of the world's smartphones.

The deal was expected to face tough scrutiny from competition regulators. National security is also the reason the president gave last week for imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.

"It would be deeply concerning if foreign parties were able to acquire control of US companies through proxy fights for their boards without the action first going undergoing a CFIUS review", the congressman wrote, noting that such a move would encourage other foreign companies to also evade CFIUS overview through such means. First, Broadcom offered Qualcomm a takeover deal worth $103 billion. But it now appears willing to continue to pursue its bid for Qualcomm through the CFIUS review, said Bernstein Research Analyst Stacy Rasgon in a research note. If that result holds up when the final vote takes place, Broadcom would have a mandate to overturn Qualcomm management's opposition to the $117 billion deal. Getting NXP into the fold would increase Qualcomm's presence in such areas as 5G, the internet of things and autonomous vehicles.

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