March 5 (UPI) -- In an unusual intervention, a U.S. government agency has asked chip-maker Qualcomm to delay a scheduled board meeting so it can review the proposed takeover by semiconductor company Broadcom.
Singapore-based Broadcom has been working for weeks on a takeover of rival Qualcomm. Although Qualcomm recently signaled the companies were closing in on a deal, the companies have disagreed on a price, prompting an attempted hostile takeover.
Qualcomm shareholders were set to vote Tuesday on whether to replace six of its 11 directors with Broadcom candidates.
It now appears the government Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States will review the proposed takeover.
In a statement Monday, Broadcom blamed Qualcomm for spurring the intervention -- and called the move by CFIUS "a blatant, desperate act by Qualcomm to entrench its incumbent board of directors and prevent its own stockholders from voting for Broadcom's independent director nominees."
The government committee, which reviews foreign acquisitions of U.S. assets with an eye toward national-security interests, is led by the Treasury Department and includes officials from the departments of Justice, Defense, Homeland Security and Energy. Ordinarily, it only weighs in after a deal is agreed upon -- and can recommend that the president block any deal it considers a threat.
In this case, though, some members argued CFIUS could weigh in on the boardroom battle itself, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
Broadcom offered $76 per share for Qualcomm last month. The companies manufacture computer chips, which totaled $410 billion in sales last year.
Qualcomm management has repeatedly said it's being undervalued by Broadcom -- adding that any deal could be rejected by the government on antitrust grounds.
Qualcomm rejected a $105 billion offer from Broadcom in November.