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.
It might be over just like that. Broadcom's hopes of acquiring Qualcomm might have been quashed for good. President Trump has issued an order blocking Broadcom's proposed takeover and anything "substantially equivalent" to it over concerns that it might "impair the national security" of the country. The order also disqualifies all 15 of Broadcom's proposed directors for Qualcomm. The move follows a letter from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US warning the companies that it believed the takeover would pose too great a security risk. If Broadcom bought Qualcomm, CFIUS argued, it would likely cut costs at the American company and weaken its ability to compete against Chinese rivals like Huawei. That, in turn, would let China dominate 5G wireless and leave Americans vulnerable. CFIUS also said that Broadcom defied an interim order requiring that it give a panel 5 business days' notice before it took steps to officially relocate to the US. We've asked both Broadcom and Qualcomm for comment, although Broadcom had previously said it was in "full compliance" with the temporary order. To put it mildly, things aren't looking good for Broadcom. There was a chance it could have escaped CFIUS' scrutiny by claiming that the takeover fell outside of its jurisdiction, but that opportunity is gone now -- as long as Trump's order holds, the deal is off. While Qualcomm isn't likely to complain much given that it repeatedly rejected Broadcom's bids as undervalued, Broadcom now faces the prospect of having to either look at another acquisition target or accept that it will have to tackle 5G by itself. Update: Not surprisingly, Broadcom said it's "reviewing" the order and "strongly disagrees" that its would-be acquisition poses national security risks. Qualcomm noted that it received the Order, and said it will reconvence its annual stockholders meeting on March 23rd.