by Ruby Henley
Oregon-based Lattice Semiconductor Corp hoped to sell itself to a Chinese-backed private equity fund called Canyon Bridge. That deal, it turns out, was never to be. After CFIUS (the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.) gave a thumbs-down over security concerns, earlier this month, Lattice took its case to Donald Trump, arguing that the deal would create American jobs. They thought Trump would fall for it, but he upheld CFIUS’s recommendation.
In blocking this deal, he sent a clear signal to Beijing that Washington will oppose takeover deals that involve technologies with military implications. Trump is basically protecting the sovereignty of the United States by protecting its technology used in the defense of our Country. If given to China, it does not take a rocket scientist to know it could be used against us. So many before him did not seem to understand this. So many of our defense secrets have been sold to foreign countries it is absolutely beyond the pale of understanding.
Canyon Bridge Capital Partners’ planned a $1.3 billion acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor Corporation was one of the largest attempted by a Chinese-backed firm in the US microchip sector. U.S. Defense officials raised red flag concerns about the Lattice acquisition by a firm backed by the Chinese government. I am glad that they did.
Trump said in an executive order that Lattice and Canyon Bridge “shall take all steps necessary to fully and permanently abandon the proposed transaction” within 30 days. Trump’s decision chimes with the views of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which scrutinizes deals for potential national security threats.
China made the following statement:
“We believe conducting security examinations of investments in sensitive sectors is a country’s legitimate right, but it should not become a tool for advancing protectionism,” Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman Gao Feng told a press briefing on Thursday.
After CFIUS, a panel of senior officials representing Treasury, State, Homeland Security and Defense departments, did not approve of the takeover three times, Lattice and Chinese-backed Canyon Bridge made an appeal to Trump, arguing the deal would grow U.S. jobs.
“Consistent with the administration’s commitment to take all actions necessary to ensure the protection of U.S. national security, the president issued an order prohibiting the acquisition,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
In a separate statement, the White House said “the Chinese government’s role in supporting this transaction, the importance of semiconductor supply chain integrity to the United States government, and the use of Lattice products by the United States government” all posed potential risks to national security.
by Ruby Henley