The logo of Qualcomm is seen during the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Thomson Reuters (Reuters) - Broadcom Ltd said on Monday Qualcomm Inc secretly requested an USA national security panel on January 29 to start an investigation into its proposed $117 billion buyout offer, leading to a delay in Qualcomm's March 6 shareholder meeting. The committee is anxious about the national security implications of Broadcom, a Singapore-based company, taking over the US-based Qualcomm, which provides the bulk of modems used for communications in modern smartphones. Broadcom's claims that the CFIUS inquiry was a surprise to them has no basis in fact. In this case, the CFIUS is stepping in early in the process, and is asking Qualcomm to delay its planned March 6 annual shareholder meeting.
In response to Broadcom's comments, Qualcomm said that Broadcom's response to the move another ploy in a "now familiar pattern of deliberately seeking to mislead shareholders and the general public by using rhetoric rather than substance to trivialize and ignore serious regulatory and national security issues".
"Broadcom has been interacting with CFIUS for weeks and made two written submissions to CFIUS", the Qualcomm statement said.
Broadcom said it is run by a board of directors and senior management team consisting nearly entirely of Americans.
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Cornyn said Qualcomm is the leading US company in driving 5G development, and an acquisition by Broadcom could stall that and hand the leadership of 5G R&D to Huawei, a Chinese tech firm.
Broadcom Ltd. is on course to win all six of the seats it's seeking on Qualcomm Inc.'s board, giving it a majority to push forward with its hostile takeover even as a US government panel forced a delay of the final tally amid concerns about the deal's threats to national security.
The deal was expected to face tough scrutiny from competition regulators.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, as well as San Diego-area Congressmen Scott Peters, a Democrat, and Duncan Hunter, a Republican, sent letters to Trump Administration officials requesting a CFIUS review.
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Five other members of Congress signed the Gallagher letter on Friday that was sent to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. It has said it would then be a United States company and the deal would not be subject to review. "A disruption of Qualcomm's R & D efforts would in effect hand the growing competition for 5G to China".
CFIUS was apparently split on whether or not to review Broadcom's takeover attempt.
While the suggested price of $79 per Qualcomm share - or $82 per share should Qualcomm's planned buyout of NXP Semiconductors fail - has been a constant point of argument, Qualcomm has also said in the past that regulatory hurdles are a serious challenge. Qualcomm's leadership fiercely opposes the Broadcom offer, saying it "materially undervalues" the company, and analysts have said for months that even if shareholders approved it, it could be rejected on antitrust grounds. On Monday, it extended its $127.50 per share tender offer until March 9.
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