Qualcomm has given up on its effort to acquire NXP Semiconductors after failing to get regulatory approval from Chinese authorities.
While Qualcomm is a US company and NXP is based in the Netherlands, the regulatory approval was needed because NXP does most of its business in China, with almost two thirds of its revenues coming from that market last year. A spokesperson with China’s Commerce Ministry said the regulatory holdup was a matter of antitrust issues; but the lack of approval can also be seen as part of a larger trade war getting underway between China and the US, whose President has imposed heavy tariffs as part of an ‘America first’ economic strategy.
In ending its effort to acquire NXP, which was recently named one of the world’s top three AI chipset makers by Compass Intelligence, Qualcomm will have to pay a $2 billion termination fee to NXP today. But the deal’s collapse means that Qualcomm is now free to put the $47 billion it had set aside for the purchase to other ends, and the company has already announced that it will spend $30 billion on a stock repurchase program, an effort to reassure investors.
In a statement announcing its plans, Qualcomm asserted that its stock buyback program and other strategic efforts leave it “well-positioned to drive significant accretion and value for stockholders,” with CEO Steve Mollenkopf asserting that Qualcomm’s diversification into “higher growth industries” such as the Internet of Things, 5G connectivity, and the automotive sector, offers “projected revenues of approximately $5 billion for fiscal year 2018, up greater than 70 percent from fiscal year 2016.”