It seems every day brings a new effort by Broadcom in its quest to take over Qualcomm. Today, Broadcom moved up the date of its redomicile to the United States to April 3, 2018. Previously, it said it would redomicile from Singapore to the United States by May 6.
Broadcom is positioning the redomicile of its corporate headquarters as a key argument to ally U.S. government concerns that a combined company would jeopardize national security.
Last week, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) said it would conduct a full investigation into Broadcom’s proposed acquisition of Qualcomm. CFIUS expressed concern that a takeover by Broadcom could pose a national security risk to the United States because of Broadcom’s connections in China.
Today, Broadcom is saying that it never planned to purchase Qualcomm before Broadcom, itself, was an American company. “Broadcom’s proposal to acquire Qualcomm has always been premised on the completion of Broadcom’s previously announced plan to redomicile,” said the company in a statement. “In short, U.S. national security concerns are not a risk to closing.”
It’s unclear whether CFIUS will have jurisdiction over Broadcom once the company is officially headquartered in the United States. In fact, Broadcom’s acceleration of its redomicile plans could be in response to a letter yesterday from CFIUS seeming to accelerate its investigation timeline.
CFIUS is not the only one concerned about a combined Broadcom-Qualcomm. Intel is watching the deal closely, as well. If it appears that Broadcom is likely to prevail, Intel might jump in with its own offer for Broadcom, reports the Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources.
Intel is already one of the biggest chipmakers. It’s valued at $244.2 billion. Broadcom has a market value of about $104 billion, and Qualcomm is valued at around $93.3 billion (Broadcom is offering $117 billion to buy it). Qualcomm is also in the process of acquiring NXP Semiconductor for $44 billion. So, a combined Broadcom, Qualcomm, NXP would have a value of more than $240 billion, putting it on par with Intel.
Even if CFIUS drops its investigation of Broadcom, there’s no guarantee Broadcom’s proposed acquisition of Qualcomm would pass anti-competitive hurdles. And the same could be said of any acquisition attempts by Intel.
Qualcomm Fights Back
Broadcom has been trying to replace Qualcomm board members with persons more favorable to its takeover attempts. But last week, CFIUS ordered Qualcomm to delay its board meeting, and then CFIUS announced its investigation of the merger.
For its part, Qualcomm said Paul Jacobs, the son of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs, would no longer serve as executive chairman of the board, although he will remain on the board. Current board member Jeffrey Henderson was named non-executive chairman. This announcement appears to be an effort by Qualcomm to demonstrate its board’s independence.