Qualcomm-NXP deal: Xi says China open to approving

A Qualcomm chip inside an Apple iPhone 6 smartphone

Steve Mollenkopf, CEO, Qualcomm, was quoted by sources to say that the failure of the deal was a side effect of the mounting tensions due to trade imbalance between the USA and China.

China and the United States agreed on Saturday to a truce in their trade war following talks between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina.

What happened: President Xi Jinping said he would be willing to consider approving USA chip-maker Qualcomm's once-failed $44 billion bid for NXP Semiconductors if the option were presented to him again, according to the White House.

United States chipmaker Qualcomm Inc rejected a suggestion by the White House that its collapsed US$44 billion (RM184.1 billion) acquisition of Dutch peer NXP Semiconductors could be revived, saying the deal had been terminated as the deadline had expired.

California-based Qualcomm (QCOM) confirmed in July it was terminating its proposed takeover of Dutch counterpart NXP (NXPI) after China failed to grant it regulatory approval. Qualcomm was given just an hour's notice by the Trump administration about Xi's comment on the NXP deal, and its inclusion in the White House statement, according to two of the sources.

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The statement about revisiting Qualcomm-NXP was included in the White House release, but not the one from the China side. Chinese regulators declined to clear the deal, though the country later expressed regret over the transaction's collapse. Apparently, Qualcomm has pursued the acquisition of NXP for the company's strength in automotive chips in order to diversify beyond the smartphone field. Since Qualcomm has significant ties with Chinese OEMs, the chip maker had no choice but to agree with China's decision. Qualcomm used share buybacks of $5 billion to try to maintain its stock price for their shareholders after the deal was cancelled.

A Qualcomm representative didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The deal, which was originally announced in 2016, was approved by eight other regulators around the world. In July 2018, the deal finally fell apart when China disapproved the deal.

Qualcomm has already paid a $2 billion break-up fee to NXP.

USA lawmakers also passed reforms earlier this year that increased CFIUS' scrutiny of deals.

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