Trump blocks bid to buy chip maker
US PRESIDENT Trump on Wednesday blocked a Chinabacked investor from buying an American semiconductor maker over national security concerns, a rare move that could signal more aggressive scrutiny of China’s deal-making ambitions.
The White House said on Wednesday that it prevented the acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor, in part because the US government relies on the company’s products. The integ- rity of the semiconductor industry, it said, was vital.
The White House also raised concerns over the buyer’s close ties to Beijing. The investment group included China Venture Capital Fund Corp, which is owned by state-backed entities.
The deal has provided a test of the president’s economic and diplomatic relationship with China. On the campaign trail, Trump reserved some of his harshest words for China, accusing the country of stealing jobs. In recent months, the president has turned more critical of Beijing, for failing to do more to restrain the nuclear ambitions of North Korea.
The decision could foretell trouble for other Chinese deals under review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a multiagency group that examines takeovers of US companies by foreign buyers and makes recommendations to the president. The group, which operates largely in secrecy, is also looking at the proposed purchase of Money- Gram International by Ant Financial, an affiliate of Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group.
Chinese dealmaking in the US has surged, as cash-rich companies look overseas to diversify and spread their wealth. Last year, Chinese investment hit $46 billion, a threefold increase from 2015.
The flow of Chinese money into the country, although it has slowed lately, has prompted concerns over the state’s influence in corporate strategy.