At the G20 economic summit this weekend in Argentina, President Donald Trump met for more than two hours with China's Xi Jinping. After the talks, the Chinese government said it is "open to approving the previously unapproved" Qualcomm - NXP deal, "should it again be presented".
Steve Mollenkopf, CEO, Qualcomm, was quoted by sources to say that the failure of the deal was a side effect of the mounting tensions due to trade imbalance between the USA and China.
According to Qualcomm, the deadline for any transaction has expired thus terminating any deal. However, the Chinese regulators insisted that antitrust issues remained, hence their refusal to give the green light - they denied the episode had anything to do with the trade war. The deal however did not go through and was called off in July this year, due to a roadblock created by Chinese regulatory bodies.
In addition, Qualcomm has already moved ahead with a $30 billion stock buyback in the wake of the original acquisition failure, with $21 billion already spent, "making it significantly more hard to re-engage on a deal", said Rasgon. Qualcomm even paid a $2 billion penalty in July for breaking off the merger.
China's foreign ministry declined to comment on Qualcomm during a regular media briefing on Monday. Qualcomm used share buybacks of $5 billion to try to maintain its stock price for their shareholders after the deal was cancelled. "If at the end of this period of time (90 days), the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10% tariffs will be raised to 25%", the statement said. Now, chip companies may be more optimistic about their regulatory chances in China.
The deal, which was originally announced in 2016, was approved by eight other regulators around the world.
Thus far, other high-profile mergers and acquisitions involving United States companies in other sectors have received Chinese approval.
"If that deal came back to him, he would most likely approve it quickly", Trump said.
USA lawmakers also passed reforms earlier this year that increased CFIUS' scrutiny of deals.