U.S. committee might have issues with the Broadcom/Qualcomm deal

The Qualcomm inquiry comes as lawmakers in Washington are considering a bill that would toughen national security reviews of overseas deals by broadening CFIUS’s authority

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which is now looking into whether a merger would harm national security, expressed concerns that a Broadcom takeover of Qualcomm would undermine U.S. efforts to stay ahead of China in the development of 5G tech.

"It is critical that Qualcomm stockholders know that Qualcomm did not once mention submitting a voluntary notice to CFIUS in any of its interactions with Broadcom to date, including in the two meetings on February 14, 2018 and on February 23, 2018". That would move the voting back to April 4th.

The US government's Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) ordered a national security review of Broadcom's proposed deal on Sunday in an unusual move that prompted Qualcomm to delay a March 6 shareholder meeting. The pile-up of deals reflects scrutiny of technology acquisitions going back to the Obama administration, which warned before it left office that China's push to develop its domestic semiconductor technology posed a risk to United States security.

Huawei, China's largest maker of telecom equipment, was blacklisted in 2012 along with China's ZTE Corp. when the House Intelligence Committee cited security risks posed by the companies.

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CFIUS can approve or propose changes to deals, but only the president can block a transaction on national security grounds. It explained that CFIUS had conducted a national security review of the tabled offer, even though the companies are still only in talks and a long way from agreeing a deal.

In January, Chinese firm Ant Financial canceled its bid to acquire USA money transfer company MoneyGram, after CFIUS rejected the deal, citing concerns over the safety of data that can be used to identify US citizens. The agenda includes director elections that could give board control to nominees of Singapore-based Broadcom.

A source familiar with CFIUS' thinking told Reuters on Monday that if Broadcom acquired Qualcomm, the USA military had concerns that within 10 years "there would essentially be a dominant player in all of these technologies and that's essentially Huawei". Qualcomm is still waiting for a formal negotiation with Broadcom on the final bid price and other conditions.

Treasury also cited Qualcomm's contracts with U.S. government agencies with national security responsibilities. This came after receiving a letter from a security panel, which noted Broadcom's "relationships with third party foreign entities" as a cause for concern, in addition to its "business intentions with respect to Qualcomm".

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