China is said to clear Qualcomm-NXP once confident of ZTE deal

BEIJING (May 28): China is ready to approve Qualcomm Inc’s US$43 billion takeover of NXP Semiconductors NV if it gets assurances that the US will lift a seven-year ban on homegrown telecoms giant ZTE Corp, people familiar with the matter said.

The antitrust regulator has cleared all factual investigations, is satisfied with the remedies Qualcomm’s offering and only procedural issues remain, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. Senior officials have given a green-light for approval of a deal that’s been pending for 18 months, with an announcement possible any time, they said.

China’s review of Qualcomm’s largest-ever acquisition has languished amid an escalating trade fight between the world’s two largest economies, fueling concern that the NXP deal might become a bargaining chip. At the same time, Beijing wants ZTE freed up to buy the US chips and components it needs to make networking gear and smartphones.

That’s prompted Beijing to link its review with the resolution of that moratorium, the people familiar with the matter said. It was said to have restarted recently, spurring hopes the acquisition would finally go through…

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