Qualcomm offers concessions to secure NXP Semi takeover

Reports say patent, interop promises on the table

Qualcomm is hoping it can cut a deal with the European Union to get the go-ahead for its multi-billion NXP Semiconductors acquisition.

The European Commission page tracking progress in the acquisition says the vendor filed commitments on October 5, but doesn't detail what the company is offering.

The filing was enough to set the hounds running, and Fortune reported it's spoken to people who say the filing relates to patent enforcement.

Fortune's sources say Qualcomm's strategy hinges on standards-essential patents and Near Field Communication (NFC) patents.

Standards-essential patents won't come with NXP, but would instead be offered to an alternative buyer (the EC would probably prefer that buyer was European), and Qualcomm has offered not to sue third parties over the NFC patents except for “defensive” purposes.

Qualcomm has also pledged to allow other vendors interoperability with NXP products in the future (which is no surprise, since otherwise customers would avoid the products).

The acquisition was first confirmed nearly a year ago.

If the deal goes ahead, Qualcomm will get a considerable footprint in the automotive market, which has driven NXP Semiconductor to become the fifth-largest non-memory chip maker in the world.

EC competition fears put the process on hold in September; Qualcomm would hope its promises are enough to get the ball rolling again.

The next move is the EC's: it will seek competitors' feedback on the proposal in the coming days. ®


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