Qualcomm ‘offers to buy NXP without some patents’

San Diego-based smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm has offered to buy Netherlands-based NXP Semiconductors without some of its patents in an effort to win EU antitrust regulatory approval for the $38 billion acquisition, Reuters reported, citing “two people familiar with the matter.”

The NXP acquisition would be the biggest ever deal in the semiconductor industry.

The EU competition authority is worried that the merged company could provide incentives to customers to buy bundled products — potentially squeezing out rivals — or change NXP’s intellectual property licensing practices, Reuters reported.

Qualcomm has told regulators it will not acquire NXP’s standard essential patents, which the Dutch company can sell to another buyer, the Reuters report said.

Qualcomm also agreed not to take legal action against third parties related to NXP’s near field communication (NFC) patents — except for defensive purposes.

The European Commission said in June it opened an in-depth investigation to assess Qualcomm’s proposed acquisition of NXP under the EU Merger Regulation.

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