Broadcom, you've been punk'd: Qualcomm puts stockholder vote on hold for US security probe

It was your plan all along! 'Oh no it wasn't.' Oh yes it was. 'CFIUS is BEHIND you!'

Qualcomm took a deep breath, counted to three and responded to Broadcom's weekend broadside before postponing its stockholder meeting by a month.

And Broadcom hit right back.

The Singapore-based chip business accused Qualcomm of tipping the wink to the US Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to take a closer look at Broadcom's proposed acquisition.

CFIUS is investigating the national security implications of the business being taken over by a Singapore-based company.

The result was an order to delay Qualcomm's stockholder vote, which was due to take place from today until 5 April, to give CFIUS time to investigate and, Broadcom assert, an opportunity for the board of the San Diego-based Snapdragon designer time to entrench its position.

The board of Qualcomm have made no secret of its reluctance to do a deal with Broadcom, which is now pressing ahead with a hostile takeover.

Qualcomm confirmed today in a statement, the postponement was a result of the CFIUS order.

Qualcomm stated on 5 March that "Broadcom's claims that the CFIUS inquiry was a surprise to them has no basis in fact. Broadcom has been interacting with CFIUS for weeks and made two written submissions to CFIUS."

Broadcom hit back, saying it "reiterates" that Qualcomm failed to disclose to its own stockholders and Broadcom "that it secretly filed a voluntary unilateral request for CFIUS review on 29 January 2018".

It said: "Broadcom's only correspondence with CFIUS was in response to CFIUS inquiries about Broadcom's nomination of directors to the Qualcomm board of directors, and such requests did not reveal that Qualcomm filed to initiate the CFIUS review on 29 January 2018."

It seems the $117bn deal has changed from resembling a soap opera to a corporate pantomime. Oh yes it has.

It remains to be seen which of the players has taken the part of Widow Twankey and who is Buttons. ®

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