The European Commission presented another snag for Qualcomm Inc.'s (QCOM) - Get Reportacquisition of Dutch chipmaker NXP Semiconductors NV (NXPI) - Get Report , saying Wednesday, Nov. 15, that its review of the merger will carry into 2018.
The challenges to the deal continue to mount, as Paul Singer's Elliott Management Corp. opposes the sale price, and Broadcom Inc.'s (AVGO) - Get Report CEO Hock Tan has launched a hostile bid for Qualcomm.
Shares of NXP were down 0.5% to $114.92 heading into the close on Wednesday, but are still above Qualcomm's offer of $110 per share. Meanwhile, Qualcomm dipped nearly 0.7% to $65.57, a discount to Broadcom's offer of $70 per share.
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Dominant mobile phone chipmaker Qualcomm had hoped to close the purchase of automotive and Internet of things components powerhouse NXP for $38 billion, or $47 billion including debt, this year.
When the European Commission began its investigation into the deal in June, the group said it would decide by Oct. 17. The group has twice suspended the review, however. At a press briefing in Beijing on Wednesday, Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who heads competition policy, said the group will not decide until next year.
NXP CEO Richard Clemmer raised the possibility of a delay in the company's third-quarter earnings call in October. While NXP and Qualcomm were working towards a close this year, he said the deal could slip into 2018.
While Qualcomm remains committed to purchasing NXP, its own independence faces challenges. The company stated its opposition to Broadcom's takeover bid on Monday, and Broadcom reiterated its commitment to buying the company regardless of whether it closes the NXP deal. While Broadcom is open to buying NXP, the company has not offered a premium for the company.
Shares of Qualcomm have been weighed down by an intellectual property dispute with Apple Inc. (AAPL), its largest customer, which may have opened the door for Broadcom's unsolicited bid. Buying NXP would diversify Qualcomm's business, which is heavy on mobile phones.
Qualcomm and Broadcom overlap in areas such as WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth components, and a merger would likely face antitrust concerns unless the companies made divestitures. Broadcom has said it will pay $70 per share for Qualcomm, whether or not it buys NXP.
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