Qualcomm Inc. said on Wednesday it has abandoned the takeover of NXP Semiconductors NV, as Chinese regulator did not approve the deal amid the escalating trade tensions with the U.S. The Dutch chipmaker is due to a $2 billion breakup fee for the deal collapse, and announced on Thursday a $5 billion share buyback plan in order to ease investors’ nerve. The $44 billion deal was reported in October 2016.
China could try to intercept M&A deals involving U.S. companies, as a way to fight back against Trump’s threaten to slash tariffs on $500 billion Chinese goods since China imports far less from the U.S. to fight toe-to-toe.
NXP’s CEO Richard Clemmer has described the push-back as a “purely political decision” in an interview with Bloomberg.
China’s Commerce Ministry denied the case was linked to the trade conflicts between Beijing and Washington.
Qualcomm is the industry standard setter and dominant player for the 5G technology in the U.S., who could be seen in competition with its Chinese rival Huawei Technologies Co. and others to set up protocol of the industry.
China’s failure to approve the deal by the deadline could slow the expansion of the U.S. tech powerhouse and help to win time and market shares for its own companies.
China has become the world’s biggest market of semiconductors last year with a market value of $132 billion, from where around two thirds of Qualcomm’s revenue generated, according to World Semiconductor Trade Statistics.
But China’s massive dependence on chips manufactured by major U.S., South Korean and Taiwanese makers worried the officials. China imports around 95 percent of its leading-edge chips used for producing computers and servers every year, said Xin Guobin, Chinese vice minister of industry and information technology during a forum in Beijing.