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Europe and Korea approve Qualcomm NXP acquisition, only China left

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The protracted acquisition of NXP by mobile chip giant Qualcomm inched closer to completion with approval from Europe and South Korea.

Qualcomm first announced its bid back in October 2016, when there was still rationing, only three TV channels and you could leave your front door unlocked without any worries. In the intervening aeon a few of the required nine global regulatory bodies have got their act together enough to review the competition implications and give it the green light, but not all.

Europe, South Korea and China seemed to feel the need to drag things out a fair bit more than the rest of the world. We’re used to the EC taking its own sweet time about things but Korea probably had an extra hard look after it fined Qualcomm for some other corporate misbehaviour last year. Anyway, they got there in the end, so that just leaves China.

“We are pleased that both the European Commission and the Korean Fair Trade Commission have granted authorization of the NXP acquisition, and we are optimistic that China will expeditiously grant its clearance,” said Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm CEO. “Acquiring NXP is complementary to Qualcomm’s global portfolio, providing tremendous scale in automotive, IoT, security and networking and will greatly accelerate our ability to execute and create value in new and adjacent opportunities.”

There is extra intrigue attached to the China decision, however. The US has started the year with some fairly strident anti-China posturing, culminating in reports that the US state is now hinting that any companies doing business with Chinese telecoms players may find themselves losing their public sector contracts sharpish. It wouldn’t come as a massive surprise if Qualcomm found itself in the middle of a geopolitical reprisal.

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