Imagination investors approve sale to China-backed fund

LONDON (Reuters) – Imagination Technologies shareholders approved a 550 million pound ($730 million) cash takeover by China-backed Canyon Bridge on Tuesday, a day after the buyout firm’s founder was charged by U.S. authorities with insider trading.

The headquarters of technology company Imagination Technologies is seen on the outskirts of London, Britain, June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Canyon Bridge’s offer to buy the British chip designer was announced on Sept. 22, a week after its bid to buy Lattice Semiconductor Corp was blocked by U.S. President Donald Trump over national security concerns.

Canyon’s founder Benjamin Chow was charged on Monday with insider trading in a case related to the attempted U.S. deal.

However, a spokeswoman for Canyon said on Tuesday that the Imagination deal would not be jeopardized by the allegations, adding that Chow denies wrongdoing and intends to defend the case in court..

Canyon’s takeover bid values the troubled company at 182 pence per share, a near 42 percent premium to Imagination’s closing price on Sept. 22. It was put up for sale after its shares fell 70 percent in April when Apple, its biggest customer, said it would stop using its graphics technology.

A court hearing to approve the Imagination takeover, which was agreed only days after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States rejected Canyon’s proposed $1.3 billion acquisition of Lattice, is expected to be held on Nov. 6.

Following Trump’s decision to bar Canyon Bridge from buying Lattice, the British government said it wanted more say over deals in the military and technology sectors, making proposals to tighten Britain’s existing takeover rules.

Canyon Bridge was founded by Chow with capital originating from China’s central government and had indirect links to Beijing’s space program.

The Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York and the Federal Bureau of Investigation alleged on Monday that Chow had conspired to commit securities fraud by sending information regarding the Lattice bid to an unnamed friend and former colleague.

($1 = 0.7534 pounds)

Reporting by Ben Martin and Pamela Barbaglia; Editing by Greg Mahlich and Alexander Smith

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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