Qualcomm suggested a partial acquisition of NXP Semiconductors to the European Union as part of its latest concessions proposal filed last week, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing people with knowledge of the company’s initiative. The San Diego, California-based tech giant announced its intentions to acquire the Dutch semiconductor manufacturer in late 2016 but has yet to complete the deal as it’s still lacking the approval from the main competition watchdog on the Old Continent, having previously acquired the consent from the Federal Trade Commission in the United States. The European Commission suspended its deadline for a decision on the matter two times by now, citing a lack of necessary information on both occasions. The Commission is hence still investigating the deal as part of a probe started in June and is waiting for Qualcomm to provide it with more details on the transaction and certain assurances.
The latest proposal from Qualcomm would see the company acquire an incomplete patent portfolio of NXP and pass on the Eindhoven-based firm’s standard-essential patents. Such a move would likely alleviate some previously raised concerns about Qualcomm possibly raising the licensing fees of NXP’s patents or trying to use them as leverage to force competitors into buying its other products, which is something that the tech giant was previously accused of doing in regards to its existing portfolio of standard-essential patents. Several cases on the matter including a high-profile one initiated by Apple are currently being led all over the world, with that state of affairs not helping Qualcomm’s efforts to acquire NXP as part of the largest deal in the history of the semiconductor industry valued at approximately $38 billion.
The standard-essential patents from NXP would presumably be sold to another suitor before or after Qualcomm’s acquisition of the rest of the company’s assets, as suggested by its supposed proposal. The U.S. conglomerate also vowed to refrain from any proactive legal action in regards to NFC patents held by NXP, sources said. The official proposal filed on Thursday didn’t contain any specific details on the matter and is still being reviewed by the Commission. Samsung’s rivals and clients will be asked for input on the suggested concessions before the regulator decides how to proceed with the takeover that would allow Qualcomm to become the world’s largest supplier of automotive chips, a market segment that’s likely to grow in a rapid manner alongside various self-driving and Internet of Things advancements.