In a highly unusual move, President Trump blocks Broadcom bid for Qualcomm
In an “unpresidented” move, US president Donald Trump has stepped in to personally block the proposed acquisition of Qualcomm by Singapore-based Broadcom. If the US$117 billion deal had gone through, it would have been the biggest transaction in tech tech history. President Trump cited unspecified “credible evidence” that the takeover would have undermined the national security of the United States.
While there have been no similar actions by a US president that a parallel can be drawn with, the move is in line with President Trump’s broader protectionist agenda and follows recent moves to institute tariffs on steel and aluminum and generally impede the rise of China in the open market. The president’s move was foreshadowed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which was planning on stalling Broadcom’s takeover plans on national security grounds. As a major designer and maker of computer silicon, the deal was seen as negatively impacting US innovation in the sector.
In response, Broadcom said that it was reviewing the presidential order, but strongly disputed that its merger plans posed a threat to the United States. President Trump’s Treasury Secretary simultaneously tried to downplay the decision, saying that it was not a reflection on Broadcom at large, nor its “thousands of hard working and highly skilled US employees.” Despite this, the administration’s move was cited as “extraordinary” by attorney John Kabealo, a specialist in foreign investment issues, particularly as the committee overseeing the matter hadn’t yet completed its review.
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