Last week, Treasury official argued deal would let China dominate 5G development. Had the proposed deal gone through, it would have allowed the Singapore-based Broadcom to purchase the San Diego-based Qualcomm for $117 billion. The hostile takeover also would have been the biggest deal in the history of the tech industry. The order, which did not fully explain on what basis the president made this assessment, suggests that the Trump administration is willing to protect American companies against foreign competitors even more than some had realized. Trump recently ordered that tariffs on imported steel and aluminum be put in place, propping up those American industries. Trump's executive order comes a week after the Department of the Treasurys Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States came to a similar conclusion. In a four-page letter, Aimen N. Mir, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Investment Security, wrote that the national security concerns stem from the fact that: ...a weakening of Qualcomms position would leave an opening for China to expand its influence on the 5G standard-setting process. Chinese companies, including Huawei, have increased their engagement in 5G standardization working groups as part of their efforts to build out a 5G technology. For example, Huawei has increased its expenditures and owns about 10 percent of 5G essential patents. While the United States remains dominant in the standards-setting space currently, China would likely compete robustly to fill any void left by Qualcomm as a result of this hostile takeover. Broadcom is expected to lessen Qualcomms research and development in favor of short-term profitability — in other words, China cant be given the opportunity to dominate 5G, Mir suggested. Non-Qualcomm SoCs usually require a separate modem, which takes up more space in the already tight smartphone design. In short, non-Qualcomm-powered phones are generally inferior and more expensive to make. On November 2, 2017, Broadcom CEO Hock Tan appeared with Trump at the White House and promised to "re-domicile" the company in Delaware. (The company, while officially based in Singapore, is currently co-headquartered in San Jose, California.) "I am American, as are nearly all my direct managers, my board members, and over 90 percent of my shareholders," Tan said. "So today, we are announcing that we are making America home again. Thank you. Our commitment to re-domicile into the United States is a huge reaffirmation to our shareholders, to the 7,500 employees we have across 24 states in America today, that America is once again the best place to lead a business with a global footprint. Thanks to you, Mr. President, business conditions have steadily improved." However, such a move does not appear to have taken place. Adding to the intrigue, last Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Intel is interested in buying Broadcom. In a two-sentence statement issued Monday evening after the executive order, Broadcom wrote: "Broadcom is reviewing the order. Broadcom strongly disagrees that its proposed acquisition of Qualcomm raises any national security concerns."
President Donald Trump issued an order Monday evening blocking any merger of the chipmaking giants Broadcom and Qualcomm, saying it was necessary to protect national security. There is credible evidence, the order says, that if the Singapore-based Broadcom took control of the US-based Qualcomm that the company might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States. Broadcom has been trying to purchase Qualcomm for the last several months, but has continually been rebuffed. Its since tried to stack Qualcomms board with friendly members. Trumps order says that Broadcom will not be allowed to purchase or merge with Qualcomm in any way, and that all of the people Broadcom has proposed to Qualcomms board are disqualified. It seems that Broadcom was aware that Trump or his Justice Department might attempt to block the merger on these grounds and has been trying to avoid it. Trump has blocked similar takeovers before, having stopped a Chinese state-owned company from buying an American semiconductor firm back in September. Broadcom is currently in the process of moving its headquarters from Singapore to the US, according to Bloomberg, and planned to complete the transition by April 3rd. With the move, Broadcom seems ready to fight Trumps order. In a statement, the company said US national security concerns are not a risk to closing, as Broadcom never plans to acquire Qualcomm before it completes redomiciliation. Its not clear whether thatll be allowed to happen. Trumps order says that the two companies should permanently abandon the proposed takeover, indicating that Broadcoms move wont make a difference, unless its willing to take the order to court.