It looks like the soap opera starring Qualcomm and Broadcom has come to a sudden conclusion. Donald Trump has stepped in to block the hostile takeover on national security grounds, leaving little if any wiggle room for Broadcom to continue the pursuit.
The main fear seems to be mostly just that the US might lose ground in 5G technology to China. Broadcom naturally disagrees with, having gone to some lengths to reassure everyone of the company’s commitment to the US. Indeed, it seems rather silly for Broadcom to take the risks it has in order to not take advantage of and enhance Qualcomm’s position in the space even more aggressively and let Huawei take the lead – which seems to be the main scenario.
Broadcom became a Singapore company when it was bought by Avago two years ago, but the company’s physical headquarters never left California. The company is in the process of moving its legal HQ back to the US also, and got Trump’s attention in a positive way when making that decision, but to no avail.
Trump’s move was somewhat expected after the CFIUS had raised concerns a few weeks ago. Given the, ummm, protectionist leanings of the administration, not much of an excuse was needed to step in — especially given that the Qualcomm wasn’t a willing dance partner.
So now what? In the short term, the stock probably takes a hit of course. But in the medium term, Qualcomm gets to prove its case, namely that its shares were undervalued relative to the opportunity ahead in 5G.
Beyond Qualcomm, however, a giant for sale sign just went up on US assets for foreign buyers with any connections to China or other US competitors.
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