Qualcomm Extends NXP Bid As Uncertainty Over China Returns

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Qualcomm on Friday extended its $44 billion bid for Dutch NFC pioneer and tech giant NXP Semiconductors, having done so by yet another week. The deal that was announced in late 2016 is still awaiting approval from China's antitrust watchdog and while the regulators in the Far Eastern country are understood to have already reached a preliminary agreement with the chipmaker, the transaction has yet to be officially greenlit by Beijing. The proposed merger has been causing mass confusion over the course of the last month as conflicting reports on its status emerged, with Qualcomm's position being all the more difficult due to the current trade-related tensions between the United States and China.

The San Diego, California-based company successfully lobbied with the federal government against being taken over by Broadcom earlier this year, citing national security concerns. Those same grounds are now being used by Capitol Hill as an attempt to reverse President Trump's lifeline deal with China's ZTE meant to save the Shenzhen company from the certain bankruptcy it's facing if it isn't allowed to continue purchasing and licensing crucial American technologies, including Qualcomm's own chips. Should stateside lawmakers reach a supermajority consensus on maintaining ZTE's seven-year denial order imposed over violations of U.S. trade sanctions placed on North Korea and Iran, China may opt to retaliate by preventing Qualcomm from acquiring NXP, many industry analysts previously speculated.

The conflict that's starting to resemble a full-blown trade war was escalated by Washington late last month after President Trump announced a new 25-percent tariff on roughly $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, mostly technologies and intellectual properties. Qualcomm itself largely refrained from commenting on the matter in a public capacity, having only acknowledged that it hopes the saving of ZTE would spell good news for its NXP bid. The deadline for the completion of the tie-up is presently set to July 25, though it's likely to be extended if the two parties fail to combine by that date.

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