EU to probe Qualcomm’s $38bn bid for NXP

The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed $38 billion acquisition of Netherlands-based NXP Semiconductors by San Diego-based Qualcomm under the EU Merger Regulation.

The Commission said it has concerns that the transaction could lead to “higher prices, less choice and reduced innovation in the semiconductor industry.”

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “We use our electronic devices every day – mobile phones or tablets.

“As semiconductors are used in practically every electronic device, we are dependent on them in those devices.

“With this investigation, we want to ensure that consumers will continue to benefit from secure and innovative products at competitive prices.”

Qualcomm supplies chips to Android smartphone makers and Apple and would become the leading supplier to the automotive chip market following the transaction — the largest-ever in the semiconductor industry.

Qualcomm said it was confident of addressing the EU’s worries and that it still expects the deal to close by the end of the year.

Qualcomm said: “This acquisition is complementary … Qualcomm continues to expect this transaction to close by the end of 2017.”

The European Commission now has 90 working days, until October 17, 2017, to make a decision.