President Donald Trump Monday ordered Broadcom to cease its attempt to purchase Qualcomm, saying the deal was a threat to national to national security.
“The proposed takeover of Qualcomm is prohibited, and any substantially equivalent merger, acquisition, or takeover, whether effected directly or indirectly, is also prohibited,” the president said in an order issued Monday.
The order is the latest signal that the president is willing to take dramatic actions to put his agenda of economic nationalism into effect. Last week the president made official plans to put tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, saying foreign dumping was crippling U.S. steel and aluminum manufacturers and putting American national security at risk.
According to the order, the president was acting on the recommendation of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., known as CFIUS. That panel had told the companies Sunday that it was considering recommending blocking the deal, a communication Broadcom revealed in a securities filing Monday. The letter from CFIUS accused Singapore-based Broadcom of repeatedly violating one of the panel’s orders.
CFIUS is a multiagency panel of the U.S. government that has become more active during the Trump administration. It reviews proposed foreign acquisitions of U.S. companies and can recommend that the president block them on national security grounds. The panel is headed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
In a statement, Mnuchin said the decision was part of the Trump administration’s “commitment to take all actions necessary to protect the national security of the United States.”
CFIUS has said that it is worried that Broadcom would slash research and development at Qualcomm. That could leave the U.S. hobbled in the race to develop next generation, 5G wireless technology, according to people familiar with the matter. The committee also said that the technology of Qualcomm–which makes wireless chips and licenses wireless patents crucial to smartphones and other–was too important to put into the hands of a foreign company with links to China.
The president’s decision to kill the deal was immediately won the president praise from the right.
“President Trump is 100 percent correct to stop the attempt by Singapore-owned Broadcom to take over the Qualcomm Corporation. The transfer of Qualcomm’s technology innovations includes its strides toward 5G to a foreign company posed a real danger to national security,” American for Limited Government President Rick Manning said in a statement.