President Trump stops Broadcom takeover of Qualcomm

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump issued an order on Monday prohibiting semiconductor maker Broadcom Ltd’s (AVGO.O) proposed takeover of Qualcomm Inc(QCOM.O) on grounds of national security, bringing an end to what would have been the technology industry’s biggest deal ever.

FILE PHOTO: A sign to the campus offices of chip maker Broadcom Ltd, who announced on Monday an unsolicited bid to buy peer Qualcomm Inc for $103 billion, is shown in Irvine, California, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File photo

Qualcomm had rebuffed Broadcom’s $117 billion takeover bid, which was under investigation by the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a multi-agency panel led by the U.S. Treasury Department that reviews the national security implications of acquisitions of U.S. corporations by foreign companies.

“The proposed takeover of Qualcomm by the Purchaser (Broadcom) is prohibited, and any substantially equivalent merger, acquisition, or takeover, whether effected directly or indirectly, is also prohibited,” the presidential order released on Monday said.

The order issued by the White House cited“credible evidence” that led Trump to believe that Broadcom taking control of Qualcomm“might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”

This is the fifth time ever a U.S. President has blocked a deal based on CFIUS objections and the second deal Trump has stopped since assuming office.

Slideshow (3 Images)

Trump’s move accelerated a decision that appeared likely after CFIUS told Broadcom in a letter on Sunday that its investigation“so far confirmed the national security concerns.”

The U.S. Treasury Department letter was“obviously a poison pill,” Jim Lewis, a CFIUS expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said before the Trump order. He described the CFIUS communication to Broadcom as“unprecedented.”

The semiconductor industry is racing to develop chips that power so-called 5G wireless technology, allowing the transmission of data at faster speeds.

San Diego-based Qualcomm has emerged as one of the biggest competitors to Chinese companies vying for market share in the sector, such as Huawei Technologies Co, making it a prized asset.

A source familiar with CFIUS’ thinking had said that if the deal was completed, the U.S. military was concerned that within 10 years,“there would essentially be a dominant player in all of these technologies and that’s essentially Huawei, and then the American carriers would have no choice. They would just have to buy Huawei (equipment).”

Broadcom had struggled to complete its proposed deal to buy Qualcomm which had cited several concerns including the price offered and potential antitrust hurdles.

Reporting by Diane Bartz and Chris Sanders in Washington; Supantha Mukherjee and Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Peter Henderson

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Sam Nunberg's Media Tour Tops This Week's Internet News Roundup

Clocks move forward this weekend, which can only mean it’s time for the East Coast to struggle under feet of snow once again. Well, that or it’s time for Barack and Michelle Obama to team up with Netflix to produce shows to guide humanity into the future. While the world keeps turning, however, let’s answer this one very important question: What was the rest of the internet up to last week?

Sam Nunberg Does the Rounds

What Happened: In a move that surely delighted everyone who’d ever wanted to ignore all legal advice and do something stupid, one witness in the ongoing investigation into potential Russian interference in the 2016 election decided to do a media tour after receiving a subpoena for evidence. Whoops!

What Really Happened: Before last week, it’s probably fair to say that most people hadn’t heard of Sam Nunberg. Prior to Monday, he was pretty much known as a former Donald Trump campaign aide who didn’t like Trump. After this week, though? Well, now everyone knows who Sam Nunberg is.

How amazing was Nunberg’s MSNBC call? Amazing enough that people couldn’t really believe it was happening at the time.

Impressively enough, things only got stranger; once Nunberg was finished talking to Katy Tur, he started calling up other news shows for follow-ups.

As people started wondering whether he was sending a message to Trump or simply having some kind of public breakdown—many theories abounded—some people were just stunned that it didn’t seem to stop.

The Takeaway: The best part of it all? After a full day of telling people that he wasn’t going to co-operate with special counsel Robert Mueller, he then changed his mind and decided that, you know what? He’ll co-operate after all.

The Resignation of Gary Cohn

What Happened: The saga of “People Leaving the White House” continued last week as the director of the National Economic Council and chief economic advisor to President Trump jumped ship.

What Really Happened: He’s stuck with the president through thick, thin, and his talk of “both sides” following the Charlottesville white supremacist rally, but last week Gary Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, finally found the thing that pushed him over the edge: trade tariffs.

The New York Times broke the story, but the news quickly spread. Cohn was leaving, and it was a big deal. As always, Twitter was swift to react.

While many were quick to praise Cohn as a man of principle, others wanted to put his resignation in some (much-needed) perspective.

Turns out, some people were upset about Cohn’s departure. And those people were the ones with money who paid attention to what the Trump Administration does in respect to financial planning.

That doesn’t seem like an incredibly positive sign. But the White House, as is traditional, wanted to play down the very idea that this was a problem.

How do those inside the building really feel, though? Let’s just look at how a couple of key figures Cohn worked with reacted to the news.

“Globalist,” huh? That’s not too surprising, but as some pointed out, that can be read as an anti-Semitic term.

The Takeaway: But where will Cohn go now?

Coming Up After the Break

What Happened: How best to announce a major foreign policy moment? Maybe teasing it in the press room, like it’s a promo for The Apprentice? Can that be forgiven if it’s what it appears to be?

What Really Happened: It seemed like just a normal Thursday in the White House—which is to say chaotic (sorry, filled with great energy)—until, out of nowhere, the president came into the press room to drop an unexpected tease to the media.

That’s certainly exciting. But you know what’s more exciting? Finding out that the Pentagon wasn’t in the loop.

No, wait. That’s terrifying, not exciting. So, everyone wondered, what could it be? Things started to leak early, because … well, of course they did.

Turns out, the rumors was true: Trump had agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, after months of nuclear brinksmanship and name-calling. (Remember “Rocket Man” and boasts of bigger buttons?) Some were thrilled with the news.

Indeed, US senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina got very excited, offering a statement that seemed like a dare.

Why would you tell the North Koreans not to play Trump? Isn’t that a huge part of the reason they’re doing this? You’re just going to make them want to do it even more. Don’t say things like that! No wonder that others were, shall we say, less than enthused about the move.

But let’s be optimistic for a brief second, while accepting that such naiveté is only likely to lead to heartache down the road. If this actually leads to a de-escalation in nuclear brinksmanship with North Korea, never mind the rumored retirement of the North Korean nuclear program, that would be an astonishing accomplishment, even if it was one that was accidentally arrived at rather than the game of four-dimensional chess everyone would rather pretend it is. Here’s to … the potential continuation of peace?

The Takeaway: There is one thing that almost everyone can count on during whatever happens in the meeting between the leaders, of course.

More Stormy Weather

What Happened: Just when you thought there was no more juice left in the Stormy Daniels/Donald Trump affair, things continued to get, well, juicier.

What Really Happened: Let’s check in on the apparently ongoing Stormy Daniels/Donald Trump affair. Well, one kind of affair, at least. You might think you know everything there is to know about what happened, but apparently not.

Yes, amazingly, President Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen complained that he was never reimbursed for his payoff to Stephanie Clifford, the adult actress known as Stormy Daniels, which is a fascinating revelation considering that the president, according to Cohen, knew nothing about this whole thing.

Still, surely things can’t get any worse.

No no. We said surely things can’t get any worse.

Sometimes, you have to wonder just how good of a lawyer Michael Cohen really is, don’t you? Or even if he is a lawyer at all…

Oh, but wait! Then Clifford sued Trump, claiming that the agreement used to try and buy her silence was actually invalid because Trump had never signed it. Ridiculous enough yet? Well, then there’s what the lawsuit actually revealed.

Yes, the lawsuit turned out to be required reading that raised all kinds of questions, some of which were asked to the person whose job is supposed to be answering questions for the president.

Of course, that response raised a somewhat obvious problem.

This apparently didn’t go down well in the White House.

As everyone talked about Trump’s unhappiness, some pointed out that it’s not like it was the press secretary’s fault, per se.

Who’d work in the White House, at this point? No matter what you do, you’re more than likely to upset the man in the Oval Office.

The Takeaway: At least there’s nothing inherently contradictory in the positions taken here.

They’re All Gonna Laugh @ You

What Happened: What would you do if your Amazon Alexa just started laughing at you for no immediately obvious reason?

What Really Happened: It’s been a while since we’ve thought about the idea that artificial intelligences and new technologies are actually going to betray humanity, and yet here it is: Amazon’s Alexa is laughing at people.

Spooky and weird, as we’re sure you’d agree. But, it turns out, that person wasn’t alone.

Yes, this is how The Terminator starts these days: The robot revolution is all about home devices loudly judging the people who use them. Many, of course, saw this coming.

As it happened, Amazon had an explanation for the whole thing, but that didn’t stop everyone freaking out about it anyway. Of course, not everyone was freaked out by the laughter…

Some even felt like things didn’t go far enough…

Come on, denizens of the internet. Can’t you just accept that some things are weird for once?

The Takeaway: If only there was a way to simultaneously dunk on one brand while promoting another…

More WIRED Culture

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China’s First Space Station Is About To Crash To Earth

The European Space Agency has issued an updated forecast for the descent of Tiangong-1, China’s first space station. Previously forecast to fall to Earth in late 2017, the station is now expected to fall out of orbit between March 24 and April 19. ESA officials say this is a rough estimate.

China launched the station in late September 2011 as a prototype for a more permanent station to be built by 2020. It successfully docked with two other spacecraft by 2013, but was decommissioned in 2015. The original plan was for a controlled re-entry, but China lost contact with its hardware by March 2016 . That means its eventual descent will be uncontrolled, and only the broadest projections can be made about where it will come down.

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Re-entry could happen, according to ESA, anywhere between 43 degrees north latitude and 43 degrees south latitude. That broad swathe includes parts of the U.S., Spain, China, Australia and South America. The station weighed approximately 8.5 metric tonnes when launched, according to ESA — or a little over 9.3 US tons. Because it has burned much of the fuel it launched with, its current weight is likely much less.

According to ESA, that’s similar to the mass of the satellites that fall to earth on a regular basis. Those typically burn up entirely on re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. According to experts speaking to the Guardian, the greatest chance is that any surviving fragments of Tiangong-1 will fall into the ocean.

The only known instance of a person getting hit by falling space debris is also, frankly, comforting. In 1997, while watching the fiery descent of what may have been a Delta II rocket, Lottie Williams was struck by a bit of falling space-junk. She was entirely uninjured, later describing the strike as “a tapping on my shoulder,” and the debris as “comparable to an empty soda can.”

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