It's been a long and winding road.

In his nearly two-year quest to buy NXP Semiconductors NV (NXPI) - Get Report , Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) - Get Report CEO Steven Mollenkopf has gone into battle with Paul Singer's Elliott Management Corp., European Union antitrust boss Margrethe Vestager and regulators in various countries.

At 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Qualcomm could pay a $2 billion breakup fee and simply walk away from the deal.

Qualcomm and NXP still need approval from China's Ministry of Commerce, or MofCom as the self-imposed deadline for the deal's termination approaches. The parties previously postponed the termination date this spring, pushing it from April 25, 2018, to July 25, 2018, and the option is presumably still open.

Increasingly, however, there is a view that Mollenkopf might rather terminate the deal and pay the fee. 

Shares of Netherlands-based NXP dropped 4.2% to close at $100.66 on Tuesday and were down another 1% in Wednesday morning trading, well below Qualcomm's $127.50 offer price. Qualcomm, meanwhile, dropped 0.4% to close at $58.85 on Tuesday, and were trading flat on Wednesday morning.

The San Diego chipmaker has a Plan B to the NXP deal. The "B" stands for buybacks.

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