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Trump Blocks Broadcom's Bid for Qualcomm

"President Trump on Monday blocked Broadcom's $117 billion bid for the chip maker Qualcomm," confirms the New York Times (March 13, Kang, Rappeport), "citing national security concerns and sending a clear signal that he was willing to take extraordinary measures to promote his administration’s increasingly protectionist stance." In his presidential order, Trump cited "credible evidence" that led him to believe that if Singapore-based Broadcom were to acquire control of Qualcomm, it might take action that "would impair the national security of the United States." If it had gone through, the acquisition would have ranked as the biggest technology deal in history. Trump's decision to prohibit the mega-acquisition underscored the lengths his administration is willing to go to shelter American businesses from foreign competition. "In recent weeks, the president has turned to an arsenal of tools -- including tariffs and an obscure government review panel -- to ward off foreign control in American industries," notes the Times.

While Broadcom is indeed a Singapore-based company, the Wall Street Journal (March 13, O'Keeffe) states, the U.S. panel that vets foreign deals said that the bid could have had implications for America's broader technological competition with China. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) said it was particularly worried that Broadcom would stymie research and development at Qualcomm given its reputation as a cost-cutting giant. "CFIUS said such a move could weaken Qualcomm -- and thereby the U.S. -- against foreign rivals racing to develop next-generation wireless technology known as 5G, such as China's Huawei Technologies Co.," notes the Journal. Another key concern CFIUS expressed was