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The US government has already expressed repeated concerns about Huawei and ZTE, moving to close off their access to the American market, and the fear is Broadcom could allow the Chinese to take the lead on setting 5G standards.

Assuming its aim was to scupper Broadcom's hostile takeover, the Qualcomm board seems to have played a blinder in getting the CFIUS involved.

Broadcom said it is run by a board of directors and senior management team consisting nearly entirely of Americans.

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Broadcom's CEO Hock Tan joined US President Donald Trump in the White House past year to announce he was moving Broadcom's headquarters to the US from Singapore - a move that appeared created to appease US officials and facilitate future acquisitions.

The Committee is particularly concerned that if Qualcomm does not maintain its position as one of the top investors in semiconductor research, it could lose its leading position in helping to determine global industry standards.

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, as well as San Diego Congressmen Scott Peters, D-San Diego, and Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, sent letters to Trump Administration officials requesting a CFIUS review. The USD 106 billion in debt financing arranged by Broadcom would be the largest corporate acqusition loan ever, the letter noted, putting further pressure on the company to boost profitability in order to service its debt.

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Broadcom's hostile takeover attempt of Qualcomm could pose a national security risk because of Qualcomm's leadership in developing critical semiconductor technology, according to the USA treasury department, setting up a potentially insurmountable hurdle to getting a deal done. "A disruption of Qualcomm's R & D efforts would in effect hand the growing competition for 5G to China".

The response came after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, the government panel known as Cfius that reviews the national security implications of transactions, ordered a delay of Qualcomm's shareholder meeting as Broadcom sought to win a majority of the company's board seats. Qualcomm said it received the letter on Sunday.

Broadcom has been working to take over rival Qualcomm for weeks and the two companies were closing in on a deal before they disagreed on a price - prompting an attempted hostile takeover.

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Qualcomm still is awaiting approval from regulators in China to acquire NXP. The company has delayed its annual meeting to April 5. Broadcom's shares were up slightly at $247.90.