The Chinese government restarted a long-delayed review of Qualcomm’s proposed acquisition of NXP Semiconductors, after antitrust regulators were asked to speed up the evaluation of newly proposed remedies to protect Chinese companies, Bloomberg reported.
A month ago Chinese antitrust regulators said they found issues which are “hard to resolve”. In mid-April Qualcomm refiled its application to secure approval for the takeover in a bid to buy more time for the authorities to rule on the deal. The country’s Ministry of Commerce then stopped work on the review in response to growing trade tensions between the US and China.
The announcement comes just a day after US President Donald Trump said he is working with Chinese President Xi Jinping to find a way to rescue ZTE, after the US Department of Commerce imposed a ban on shipments of components and software to the vendor. China had appealed to the US government for an amendment to the block during trade talks.
China’s government responded strongly to the tough sanctions imposed on ZTE, with officials saying the ban highlighted the need for the country to reduce its reliance on non-domestic technologies, particularly those from the US. China imports more than $200 billion of chips each year.
A step forward
Resuming the review marks a possible step away from a simmering trade war, but is no guarantee the deal will be approved. A source told Bloomberg approval could still be delayed.
The US company secured approval from eight of the nine required global regulatory bodies to proceed with the tie-up, with only China remaining.
China has a say in the transaction because it is the world’s largest importer of semiconductors, the news agency said.
The NXP Semiconductors deal, announced in October 2016, is crucial for Qualcomm, particularly in the context of an attempted acquisition by Broadcom. The tie-up could be key for Qualcomm to remain a standalone entity and fend off future takeover advances.