US antitrust regulator the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating Broadcom’s sales policies for a potential breach of trade rules, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported.

The probe is ongoing and focuses on recent changes to some customer contracts. Broadcom’s new policies are said to require buyers to commit to the purchase of a fixed percentage of the output of specific products rather than a set number of units.

Sources told WSJ the approach could break FTC antitrust rules on grounds it could limit accessibility of the product to other customers.

In a response, Broadcom said the review was “immaterial” to its business and clarified the investigation didn’t relate to its wireless chips. It added the probe had no impact on its attempted acquisition of Qualcomm.

Charm offensive
The negative headlines come as Broadcom continues efforts to persuade Qualcomm shareholders to elect its nominees to the board. Broadcom’s ultimate goal is to persuade the company to accept its blockbuster $130 takeover bid: Qualcomm’s board repeatedly rebuffed its advances.

Qualcomm previously had its own, widely documented, issues with the FTC. In January 2017 the commission filed a case, still underway, claiming the chip maker used anticompetitive behaviour to maintain its leading position in the smartphone semiconductor market. Qualcomm denies any wrongdoing.