Deal for Ore­gon tech firm faces new pol­i­tics

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By PAUL WELITZKIN in New York paulwelitzkin@chi­nadai­lyusa. com

The sale of an Ore­gonbased tech­nol­ogy com­pany to Chi­nese state- owned en­ter­prises faces a re­view by a US gov­ern­ment panel in a new po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment un­der US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

In Novem­ber, Lat­tice Semi­con­duc­tor Corp in Port­land agreed to be ac­quired by Canyon Bridge Cap­i­tal Part­ners for $1.3 bil­lion. In a US reg­u­la­tory fil­ing last month, Lat­tice said Canyon Bridge’s in­vestors are Chi­nese state- owned en­ter­prises.

Christo­pher Rol­land, an an­a­lyst with Susque­hanna Fi­nan­cial Group, a mar­ket maker in the se­cu­ri­ties of Lat­tice, said hav­ing Chi­nese SOEs as in­vestors “def­i­nitely is a stick­ing point” when the deal is con­sid­ered by CFIUS, or the Com­mit­tee on For­eign In­vest­ment in the United States. It is made up of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from sev­eral fed­eral agen­cies, in­clud­ing the departments of Trea­sury, De­fense, State and Home­land Se­cu­rity. It re­views for­eign ac­qui­si­tions, merg­ers and takeovers of US busi­nesses to as­sess na­tional se­cu­rity con­cerns.

In light of the new po­lit­i­cal en­vi­ron­ment in Wash­ing­ton, Rol­land be­lieves the trans­ac­tion has a 50-50 chance of gain­ing CFIUS ap­proval. In Novem­ber, he wrote in a re­search note that “the Don­ald could ul­ti­mately de­cide the fate of the deal”, re­fer­ring to Pres­i­dent Trump.

In the presidential cam­paign, Trump was crit­i­cal of China.

Lat­tice’s main prod­uct is a com­puter chip called a field pro­gram­mable gate ar­ray or FPGA, which are chips that can be pro­grammed after they are man­u­fac­tured. Rol­land said Lat­tice’s FPGAs are used in the low end of the mar­ket while com­peti­tors Xil­inx Inc and In­tel Corp’s Al­tera pro­duce chips that are used in higher-end mil­i­tary ap­pli­ca­tions. Lat­tice doesn’t sell chips to the US mil­i­tary.

Last year, more than 20 mem­bers of Congress, in­clud­ing one from Ore­gon, wrote to then Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Jack Lew urg­ing the block­age of the Lat­tice ac­qui­si­tion over se­cu­rity con­cerns.

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