US computer chip giant Qualcomm said it was set to drop a $43 billion acquisition of Dutch rival NXP after failing to win approval of antitrust authorities in China.
The move comes amid increasing trade tensions between the United States and China. Qualcomm had extended the deadline several times for the tie-up which would have given the dominant smartphone chipmaker firm a broader array of products including sensors and microprocessors for connected Internet of Things devices.
It also raised its bid from $110 to $127 a share in February, to the irritation of fellow chipmaker Broadcom, which itself recently had a hostile bid for Qualcomm blocked by the White House.
Washington said the acquisition of Qualcomm by Broadcom - now Singapore-based - would help Chinese competitors such as Huawei, particularly in the emerging 5G blazing fast wireless internet, where a stronger China could present a national security issue.
According to Qualcomm, the acquisition of NXP has received antitrust clearance from eight of the nine required government regulatory bodies around the world, with the matter still pending in China, suggesting the takeover may be a collateral victim of US-China trade tensions.
“We intend to terminate our purchase agreement to acquire NXP when the agreement expires pending any new material developments,” Mollenkopf said in a statement with the company's quarterly earnings.
“In addition, as previously indicated, upon termination of the agreement, we intend to pursue a stock repurchase program of up to $30 billion to deliver significant value to our stockholders.” The company also said it expected to pay NXP a $2 billion breakup fee.
Based in the Dutch town of Eindhoven, NXP is a leading maker of chips for the auto industry, as well as for contactless payment systems. A former division of the Dutch electronics giant Philips, it became independent in 2006.