China approval of Qualcomm/NXP deal not so certain after all (again)

REUTERS/Steve Marcus/Files

(Reuters) – Shares of NXP Semiconductors fell 5% on Wednesday after China’s latest warning against US trade threats dulled hopes of an early approval by Beijing for Qualcomm’s $44 billion acquisition of the chipmaker.

The company’s shares gained about 9% since May 18 on media reports that the chances of the deal winning approval were looking “optimistic” as a US-China trade spat cooled.

Also helping was a deal the US government reached to put Chinese telecommunications company ZTE Corp, back in business.

Qualcomm lawyers were expected to meet this week in Beijing with China’s antitrust regulators in a final push to secure clearance, three sources told Reuters on Sunday.

The meeting was expected before US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross arrived in China on Saturday, the sources briefed on Qualcomm’s discussions had said.

However, the team of lawyers remained at the company’s San Diego headquarters, as of late Tuesday, a source familiar with the matter said.

“On hold now,” another person familiar with Qualcomm’s talks with the Chinese government said on Wednesday, declining to be identified as the negotiations are confidential.

The deal, announced in October 2016, has been approved by eight of the nine required global regulators, with China the only one pending.

Shares of NXP were down 1.2% while Qualcomm stock was marginally up premarket.

(Reporting by Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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