Qualcomm says US$44bn NXP deal dead for good

Qualcomm walked away in July from the mammoth deal to buy NXP after failing to secure Chinese regulatory approval. — AFP pic

Qualcomm abandoned the deal to buy NXP in July, after it was unable to secure Chinese regulatory approval.

Qualcomm, headquartered in San Diego, California, and NXP, based in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, needed China's blessing for their deal because of their presence in that country.

Popular US-based mobile chip maker Qualcomm could still reconsider a move to buy NXP after Chinese President Xi Jinping's statement at the G20 Summit that the matter could be revisited, suggests an analyst for TrendForce based out of Taipei. The perception was that Broadcom is more concerned with acquisitions than R&D, and any let up could allow Huawei to leapfrog Qualcomm, and thereby the USA, in 5G.

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Eight regulators around the world approved the Qualcomm-NXP deal, but Chinese regulators refused to wave it through.

As of this writing, it is still not clear whether Qualcomm and NXP will pursue the merger again.

According to Reuters, people close to the two companies have revealed that they did not lobby the U.S. government to bring up the aborted merger during the negotiations, and were surprised to see it resurface as an issue.

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The two companies were surprised to see that the terminated deal resurfaced as an issue, the sources added, requesting anonymity to discuss confidential deliberations. The email declared that though the company is grateful for the reconsideration and the comments, the deadline for the transaction has expired and hence the contemplated deal has been terminated. "If at the end of this period of time (90 days), the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10% tariffs will be raised to 25%", the statement said. NXP declined to comment. Qualcomm is now focused on developing its own chips for the automotive market, according to one of the sources. But Qualcomm has already paid a breakup fee in the deal and begun a $21 billion stock buyback program, they said, limiting its financial flexibility.

President Donald Trump says China is willing to approve a major merger between American chip maker Qualcomm and rival NXP.

One example could be Xilinx, a U.S. provider of chips used in communications network gear and consumer electronics that has a big presence in China. A successful acquisition of Mellanox could prove an important test of China's appetite to approve such deals.

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