Stepping into the increasingly wild saga that has been Broadcom’s efforts to purchase Qualcomm, the US government is now weighing in by issuing a new order to block the merger of the two companies. Citing national security concerns with the Singapore-based Broadcom acquiring the US-based Qualcomm, President Trump issued an order under the Defense Production Act of 1950 to prohibit the proposed acquisition or any similar transaction, effectively ending Broadcom’s acquisition efforts.

Given what would have potentially been the largest acquisition to date in the technology industry, Broadcom’s acquisition efforts had already attracted the attention of Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), who was investigating the buyout. However in exercising his own authority based on the CFIUS’s recommendations, the President has blocked the merger on national security grounds, citing that through their ownership of Qualcomm, Broadcom “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”

As a result of the presidential order, Broadcom’s purchase efforts are on hold for the time being, if not forever. The order requires the two companies to immediately stop any and all merger activity, and to unwind any efforts they’ve taken thus far, reporting to the CFIUS on their progress. Furthermore the candidates that Broadcom was running for Qualcomm’s board of directors are barred from participating in that election, and Qualcomm cannot accept their nominations.

The President's order does not go into detail about the national security concerns he and the CFIUS have with the potential deal. But the Washington Post, citing a letter from the CFIUS sent to the companies’ attorneys sent over the weekend, notes that “it was concerned research and development at Qualcomm might atrophy under Broadcom's direction” and that Qualcomm rivals such as Huawei “might become much more dominant around the world” as a result.

As the framework blocking the acquisition is a presidential order, it cannot be appealed and this block is seemingly permanent. However as Broadcom has already been going through great lengths to acquire the company, including planning to redomicile to the US so that the acquisition was no longer a foreign deal, it might yet prove too early to rule them out entirely.

Update 3/14: Broadcom has formally ended its efforts to acquire Qualcomm, noting that the offer has been "withdrawn and terminated." Interestingly however, the company still intends to go ahead with their redomiciliation plans, which were originally only undertaken in order to improve the chances of the buyout being approved.

Source: The White House

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  • sharath.naik - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    The package is more than capable for 95% of computer users. And as a package way more efficient than any thing Intel will be able to produce (unless Intel can figure out how to place unused cores in sleep mode). So for the short term it is a clear advantage for ARM.
    May be the sleep mode is in works and the reason why Intel got Microsoft to handicap their arm support.
  • edzieba - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    "unless Intel can figure out how to place unused cores in sleep mode"

    They've been doing that for decades. ACPI CPU C-states are hardly new.
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    How could that possibly have been an "Intel Hater comment"? Seems more like you're trying tomake it too easy for yourself by simply labeling someone who disagrees as "hater".
  • HStewart - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    I agree people can disagree - but ever time some one makes a comment in favor of Intel, they always bash with AMD. I been actually thinking of getting a Dell 15 XPS 2in1 because i like the numbers on it - and also long battery life. But I deeply concern about it having AMD GPU - primary because how users of AMD treat people that like Intel.

    Qualcomm is different case, it find for .net applications - but when it comes to emulation - are they really serious.
  • t.s - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    I won't buy MaCD cause I deeply concern about how MaCD user--err--eater treat people that like KFC. #dieLogicDie
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    What you read here and elsewhere in the comments & forums is a vocal minority. Sometimes definitely unfair, but don't punish AMD for that. Personally I've had a few AMD systems as well as several Intels, yet don't sympathize with any "hardcore fandom".
  • Spunjji - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    Useless comment. Throwing Meltdown/Spectre in as if they're the same thing (they're not) is a giveaway as to your intentions here. Meltdown is Intel only.
  • HStewart - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    "Useless comment. Throwing Meltdown/Spectre in as if they're the same thing (they're not) is a giveaway as to your intentions here. Meltdown is Intel only."

    This is where people are wrong. For one thing Intel has fix any issues and even though it is less severe - It not just Intel.

    AMD maybe not having any Meltdown issues, but the more severe Spectre - is documented on AMD website.
  • SleepyFE - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    Shot yourself in the foot much? First you completely disagreed with him, the you confirmed that AMD doesn't have Meltdown issues. WTF?!?
    You are also wrong that Spectre is more severe. While you can get any data with both viruses, the way you get about it is far more difficult with Spectre and less likely to be done remotely. Meltdown as far as i can tell just reads the memory before an Intel CPU performs a security check, which may have been skipped to ensure faster execution.
    Maybe if AMD did the same they'd be more competitive. Which one do you prefer, the fast one or the secure one?
  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - link

    I disagree with HStewart but for slightly different reasons.

    Companies have their own culture, and hostile takeovers will not end well for the company that gets bought and the people that work for them. Broadcomm also has lots of overlapping product lines with Intel. So they'll be buying a company that's greater than their own net worth for possibly few patents.

    That makes it a seriously financially stupid decision for Intel. They should put little more effort to make their own solutions rather than spend 300 billion dollars(which will be the cost of acquisition after you account for share appreciation) buying a company that doesn't want to get bought.

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