[H]ardOCP: Qualcomm Abandons $44 Billion NXP Acquisition

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

U.S. and China Talk Up Qualcomm-NXP Merger. There’s Just One Problem: The Deal Is Dead

In discussions with Trump, "Xi also stated that he is open to approving the previously unapproved Qualcomm-NXP deal should it again be presented to him", the White House said on Saturday. The company, however, dismissed the idea. According to Bloomberg, China's Ministry of Commerce was concerned about Qualcomm's plans for patent licensing - but it is commonly supposed that the USA's threatened trade war with the country, in part down to a sales ban on ZTE products in the United States, was a major factor.

But in a media statement, Qualcomm said the deadline for the planned transaction has expired, and the company now "considers the matter closed", with no intention of reviving talks. However, the Chinese regulators insisted that antitrust issues remained, hence their refusal to give the green light - they denied the episode had anything to do with the trade war. 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.

Qualcomm said Monday the clock ran out on the merger, and it is ready to move on. During the months that followed it proved to be hard to get shareholder backing so Qualcomm was forced to increase their bid to $128 per share for NXP, for a total value of $44 billion pending regulatory approval. "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.

Qualcomm has already embarked on a plan to return the money it would have used to fund the NXP purchase through a $30 billion stock repurchase plan and more than $20 billion in share buybacks.

Competition regulators in eight countries had approved the takeover.

On the weekend the USA and China announced an agreement that will ward off an escalation of the trade war over a 90-day period of negotiations. The American chipmaker therefore had to pay a so-called "break-up fee" of 2 billion dollars to NXP.

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