Qualcomm Secures Regulator Approval for NXP Deal

Qualcomm has received approval from European regulators for its proposed $38 billion acquisition of Dutch automotive chip maker NXP Semiconductors, a key milestone in pushing the deal forward.

The San Diego wireless technology giant also gained approval for the deal in South Korea. Now the acquisition has gotten the go-ahead from eight of the nine required regulatory agencies around the world, with China the one remaining holdout.

Qualcomm said Thursday that it is optimistic that China to grant clearance of the deal “expeditiously.”

The NXP deal could play a role in Broadcom’s $103 billion hostile takeover bid for Qualcomm. In November, Broadcom offered $70 per share to buy Qualcomm, which Qualcomm’s broad of directors rejected as too low.

In a carefully worded statement, Broadcom said its offer for Qualcomm stands whether or not the NXP deal is completed at the current price of $110 per share.

But NXP’s shares are now trading at roughly $120 — signaling that investors believe Qualcomm will eventually pay more.

It’s unclear what Broadcom’s would do in that case. But it could argue that Qualcomm is overpaying for NXP in its bid to take control of Qualcomm’s board of directors. Broadcom also could make any increase to its $70 per share offer for Qualcomm contingent upon abandoning a more expensive NXP deal.

Based in The Netherlands, NXP makes micro-controllers and other chips used in automotive, as well as secure payment semiconductors for chip cards and smartphone payments, as well as Internet of Things semiconductors.

The acquisition is considered a marquee piece of Qualcomm’s strategy to diversify its business beyond smartphones, where market growth is slowing.

European Union approval of the deal, which had been delayed at least once as regulators sought more information, was a key hurdle for Qualcomm.

“Acquiring NXP is complementary to Qualcomm’s global portfolio, providing tremendous scale in automotive, Internet of Things,…