Broadcom cries foul as US regulator intervenes in Qualcomm saga


Broadcom has accused Qualcomm of reaching “a new low” after the latter was ordered to delay its annual general meeting by a US regulator.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) issued an interim order to Qualcomm directing it to postpone its AGM, due to take place tomorrow (6 March), until 5 April to allow the body to investigate the acquisition fully.

The decision follows Qualcomm filing a request for a review by the regulator back in January. The transaction falls under CFIUS’s jurisdiction since Broadcom is currently domiciled in Singapore, although it announced at the end of last year it would return to the US and plans to do so by May.

Broadcom, which has put forward a selection of candidates for the board of directors which it hoped to have elected at the meeting, responded to the announcement by once again accusing Qualcomm of “engagement theatre”.

In a statement, Broadcom attacked the chipmaker for what it said was a “secret, voluntary unilateral request” to CFIUS to delay proceedings.

It also criticised Qualcomm for not mentioning that it had done this, especially in the two meetings between the companies on 14 February and 23 February, which it said was an “intentional lack of disclosure”.

“It should be clear to everyone that this is part of an unprecedented effort by Qualcomm to disenfranchise its own stockholders,” said Broadcom.

Qualcomm quickly responded with a statement accusing Broadcom of continuing a “now familiar pattern of deliberately seeking to mislead shareholders and the general public by using rhetoric rather than substance to trivialise and ignore serious regulatory and national security issues”.

“CFIUS has determined that there are national security risks to the United States as a result of and in connection with the transaction proposed by Broadcom,” it said.

It also said Broadcom’s claims it was unaware of the CFIUS process had “no basis in fact”. It added: “Broadcom has been interacting with CFIUS for weeks and made two written submissions to CFIUS.”

The intervention by CFIUS extends a saga which began in November when Broadcom made an unsolicited offer to buy Qualcomm. The latter argues that all bids so far have undervalued it and have not taken account of the uncertain path to regulatory approvals.

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