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After Qualcomm-NXP deal scrapped, China says still open to talks

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s market regulator said on Friday proposals from Qualcomm Inc and NXP Semiconductors to solve antitrust concerns around their now scrapped $44 billion merger had not been sufficient, but it still hoped to find a solution.

FILE PHOTO: A view of one of Qualcomm’s many buildings in San Diego, California, July 22, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) said in a statement it hoped to continue to communicate with the two firms, which had abandoned the deal on Thursday after failing to get China’s approval.

The collapse of the deal – which expired on July 25 – could aggravate tensions between Washington and Beijing amid a major trade standoff.

Qualcomm had said on Wednesday it would drop the bid for NXP, unless a last minute reprieve from China was received. There was no word from SAMR, the antitrust regulator reviewing the deal, after the deadline for the deal to expire passed.

The Chinese regulator said on Friday that it was open to continuing negotiations over approving the deal. It added its current review period would expire on Aug. 15, with an extended review deadline of Oct. 14.

FILE PHOTO: A man works on a tent for NXP Semiconductors at Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. on January 4, 2015. REUTERS/Steve Marcus/File Photo

“The results of our evaluation showed that Qualcomm’s latest plan could not resolve competition issues,” the regulator said, adding it had notified the chipmaker of this decision.

“We hope to continue to communicate with Qualcomm and that we can find a suitable solution to resolve the issues within the review period.”

When asked for a comment on SAMR’s statement, a Qualcomm spokeswoman pointed to the announcement of the deal’s termination. NXP could not be immediately reached for comment.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the deal could be revived.

Qualcomm and NXP announced share buybacks worth billions of dollars on Thursday in attempts to compensate investors for the collapse of the deal. And NXP said it had received a promised $2 billion break fee from Qualcomm on Thursday morning.

Qualcomm, the world’s biggest smartphone-chip maker and Netherlands-based NXP confirmed in separate statements on Thursday that the deal, which would have been the biggest semiconductor takeover globally, had been terminated.

The Chinese regulator added in its statement that the country would treat all companies fairly and that China was open to foreign firms investing and doing business in the country.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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