March 24, 2018

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Broadcom pledges $1.5 billion fund to salvage Qualcomm deal

08 March 2018

There's been yet another twist in the ongoing saga of Broadcom's attempt to take over Qualcomm.

The company said Wednesday that it expects the move to be completed by May.

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.

Broadcom has been telling shareholders Qualcomm sought a review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States and didn't tell its shareholders or Broadcom. And while Broadcom was founded in the USA, it is now owned by a Singaporean company (the Qualcomm deal was allegedly a way back to the US). Qualcomm's board has rejected the offer, and a few days ago it urged shareholders to reelect its members at the annual shareholder meeting that had been scheduled for March 6. Broadcom then attempted to force a vote to install six new members on the 11-person board, who would effectively do Broadcom's bidding, but the USA government intervened.

Broadcom has pledged to move its headquarters from Singapore to the USA, possibly as soon as May. That's a concern for the government, as Qualcomm is critical to maintaining the US's position of leadership in semiconductors and wireless networking.

Broadcom, which makes chips for everything from set-top boxes to data centers, on Wednesday vowed to make the USA a global leader in 5G, a next-generation cellular technology that's poised to boost wireless speeds, coverage and the ability to handle an ever more diverse deployment of connected devices. "Articulation of the potential national security concerns, in significant part, is classified".

Reuters reported last week that CFIUS had begun looking at Broadcom's bid as pressure grew from politicians, including senior Republican U.S. Senator John Cornyn.

U.S. regulators have cited concerns over China's influence on the 5G standard-setting process in announcing an investigation into Singapore-based Broadcom's hostile takeover of Qualcomm. "Broadcom's dismissive rhetoric notwithstanding, this is a very serious matter for both Qualcomm and Broadcom", Qualcomm said in a statement. A source familiar with CFIUS says that if the deal goes through, there may be no other option for American carriers than to rely on Huawei. Broadcom, a Singaporean semiconductor company, was planning to acquire Qualcomm by appointing six new board members at the meeting.

Broadcom is a Singaporean company and Singapore is a longstanding and strong ally of the United States. San Diego-based Qualcomm has emerged as one of the biggest competitors to Chinese companies vying for market share in the sector, such as Huawei Technologies Co., making Qualcomm a prized asset. But the day before, Qualcomm said the vote had to be put on hold; a government committee led by the US Treasury Secretary needed time to investigate a potential merger.

Broadcom pledges $1.5 billion fund to salvage Qualcomm deal