SAN FRANCISCO—Lattice Semiconductor Corp. moved a step closer to being acquired by an investment firm backed by China’s central government, announcing Tuesday (Feb. 28) that its shareholders have approved the terms of the $1.3 billion deal.
The deal is still being reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CIFUS), the joint agency committee that reviews the national security implications of acquisitions. Lattice CEO Darin Billerbeck said again that the process of obtaining CIFUS approval for the deal is “well underway” in a statement issued by Lattice.
Roughly 78 percent of Lattice shareholders voted in favor of the deal, while nearly 22 percent did not vote. A small smattering of shareholders voted against the deal of abstained, Lattice said.
Unease over China’s ambitions in the global semiconductor industry has grown considerably within the U.S. government since November, when Lattice agreed to be acquired by Canyon Bridge Capital Partners. Prior to leaving office, former President Obama released a report by his top science adviser which urged that the U.S. be wary of China muscling in on the semiconductor industry. Obama also took the extraordinary step of vetoing the acquisition of the U.S. assets of a German semiconductor equipment firm by a China-backed equity fund.
However, the jury is still out on how U.S. President Donald Trump will react to China’s increasing attempts to acquire U.S. semiconductor firms. During his campaign, Trump signaled that he would take a hard line on trade with China.
China’s government announced last year that it was prepared to spend $161 billion over the next 10 years to bolster its domestic semiconductor industry.
Last December, a group of U.S. lawmakers wrote a letter to then Treasury Dept. Secretary Jack Lew urging him to reject the proposed acquisition of Lattice by Canyon Bridge.
- Dylan McGrath covers the semiconductor industry and business news for EE Times.