Qualcomm set to scrap $44 bn NXP deal amid US-China trade war (Lead)
San Francisco : In a big fallout of the escalating US-China trade tensions, San Diego-based chipmaker Qualcomm was set to scrap its $44 billion acquisition of Dutch tech firm NXP Semiconductors after the Chinese regulators let the final deadline pass and did not grant approval to the deal.
The two companies entered into one of the largest tech deals in October 2016 and the deadline to close the deal was extended several times as they waited for China to approve or deny the merger.
Eight of the nine countries where Qualcomm has businesses had approved the deal.
With no answer from China's Ministry of Commerce as the deadline passed on Thursday morning, it was clear that the merger was officially dead.
"We intend to terminate our purchase agreement to acquire NXP when the agreement expires at the end of the day today, pending any new material developments," Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm Incorporated, said in a statement on Wednesday.
"In addition, upon termination of the agreement, we intend to pursue a stock repurchase programme of up to $30 billion to deliver significant value to our stockholders," Mollenkopf added as the company announced results for its fiscal third quarter that ended June 24.
According to reports, Qualcomm will have to shell out a break-up fee of $2 billion to NXP Semiconductors that makes automotive, security and Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.
"China delaying and finally not approving the QCOM-NXP acquisition is a big blow to Qualcomm's ambition to scale into automotive, IoT and security verticals," said Neil Shah, Research Director at Counterpoint Research.
"Further to that, the current trade war and previous stance by US on companies such as Huawei, ZTE and other rejected M&A activity (e.g. Micron) has just compounded the matter for Beijing to disapprove the M&A activity, Qualcomm being the casualty," Shah tweeted.
The US, however, lifted the ban on Chinese tech firm ZTE earlier this month after it deposited $400 million in an escrow account in the US.
Meanwhile, Qualcomm reported a revenue of $5.6 billion for the third quarter, saying the revenue in the third quarter grew four per cent year-on-year. The net income was $1.2 billion.
"We reported results significantly above our prior expectations for our fiscal third quarter, driven by solid execution across the company, including very strong results in our licensing business," Mollenkopf said.
The company also announced that it does not expect to supply wireless chips for upcoming iPhones.
Qualcomm is a major supplier of 4G chips for smartphones.
"We believe Apple intends to solely use our competitor's modems rather than our modems in its next iPhone release," Qualcomm Financial Chief George Davis was quoted as saying in a CNET report.
Apple and Qualcomm have been fighting over patents since the beginning of 2017.
"Qualcomm didn't say which company will supply modems for the next iPhone, but it is believed to be Intel," the report added.
With iPhone 7 and 7 Plus launch in 2016, Apple began using Intel chips in some variants of iPhones.
However, some media reports said Apple has reportedly conveyed a message to Intel, saying it will not be using the chipmaker's 5G modems for 2020 iPhone models.