Broadcom hits back against USA government concerns with $1.5 billion R&D fund

08 March, 2018, 02:10 | Author: Bert Pena
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The pledge comes after the U.S. Treasury asked chip-maker Qualcomm to delay a scheduled board meeting so it would review a proposed takeover by Singapore-based Broadcom.

Qualcomm did not deny seeking a CFIUS review but accused Broadcom of using misleading rhetoric "to trivialize and ignore serious regulatory and national security issues". Broadcom has not been specific in its plans for patent licensing other than to say the business model is broken.

Broadcom has pledged to move its headquarters from Singapore to the US, possibly as soon as May.

"Broadcom will not only maintain the R&D resources Qualcomm devotes to 5G and innovation in future wireless standards - we will also focus R&D spend to those critical technologies that are essential to the U.S".

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The deal was expected to face tough scrutiny from competition regulators. Since Trump took office a year ago, at least half a dozen foreign acquisitions of American technology firms have been scuttled in the face of national security concerns raised by CFIUS.

According to a CNBC report, the US Treasury Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS) has raised security concerns over what could become the largest pure tech deal in history. "Whereas it may have been the case in the previous administration that certain risks could be tolerated and perhaps addressed through mitigation, those risks are not as well tolerated anymore, and it is a higher bar you have to clear". But over the past week there has been an increasing call for CFIUS to step in as well for security reasons. Trump signed an executive order blocking the sale of Lattice Semiconductor to a Chinese-backed investor in September.

"While the United States remains dominant in the standards-setting space now, China would likely compete robustly to fill any void left by Qualcomm as a result of this hostile takeover", the letter said. The government said it fears an acquisition by Broadcom could threaten Qualcomm's competitiveness. The multi-agency body is headed by the Treasury. In the past dozen years, Broadcom has spent six times as much on acquisitions as it has on research and development. Qualcomm has "active sole source classified prime contracts" with the Pentagon, according to the letter.

Broadcom has a message for USA regulators: We'll make 5G technology a priority and invest in America if you let our bid for Qualcomm go through. "Limitation or cessation of supply of Qualcomm products or services to the United States government could have a detrimental impact on national security".

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