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Qualcomm/NXP deal hangs in balance as US and China set out war plans

Back in 2016, Qualcomm just wanted to buy NXP in the continued quest for self-improvement, unfortunately the business has become one of the rarely moving pawns in the prolonged chess game between the US and China.

It was reported by several news outlets last week the deal had been approved, only to be shot down by Chinese authorities almost immediately afterwards, and for Qualcomm to extend the offering period of its previously announced cash tender offer to purchase all of the outstanding common shares to June 22. Just as there seems to be some promise for the Qualcomm team, the tides of war seem to draw in.

Underlying tensions between the US and China seems to be a common trend throughout the saga, as the deal increasingly looks like a bargaining chip in in rising tensions between the two nations. With only Chinese regulatory authorities left to green-light the deal, the Qualcomm management team will be nervously looking onto the horizon as the world waits for Chinese retaliation to US tariffs.

The last few weeks had seen the uncomfortable stance between the two nations ease slightly, perhaps due to President Trump’s apparent desire to save ZTE, but all the good work looks to be for nothing following the confirmation of $50 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods entering the US. China has promised a retaliation to the move, though when this will actually be remains to be seen.

This is the unfortunate position Qualcomm finds itself in. A company which can play a dominant role in the connected economy, but with fortunes in the M&A game perhaps reliant on a mature discussion between stubborn politicians. We fear for the Qualcomm ambitions.

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