SAN FRANCISCO — As expected, U.S. President Donald Trump issued an order blocking the acquisition of programmable logic supplier Lattice Semiconductor by an investment fund backed by the Chinese government, following the recommendation issued by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).
In an executive order issued Wednesday (Sept. 13), Trump rejected the proposed $1.3 billion takeover of Lattice by Canyon Bridge Capital Partners on the grounds that it posed a potential threat to national security. Canyon Bridge is funded partly by China's central government.
The U.S. government has become increasingly wary of U.S. technology firms being acquired by Chinese entities. Prior to leaving office in January, former U.S. President Barack Obama released a report that warned that China's ambitious push to expand its domestic chip production could threaten the semiconductor industry.
The move by Trump was widely expected after CFIUS — a multi-agency U.S. government committee that reviews acquisitions for national security implications — recommended that Trump block the deal. No U.S. president has ever gone against the recommendation of CFIUS.
The order brings to a close a nine month saga that began with the announcement of the acquisition in November 2016. Lattice and Canyon Bridge refiled paperwork for the deal multiple times as the CFIUS review of the proposal dragged on far longer than typical.
It is unclear where Lattice (Portland, Ore.) goes from here. In a statement, Lattice CEO Darin G. Billerbeck called the outcome "disappointing" and said Lattice and Canyon Bridge immediately terminated the deal in compliance with Trump's order.
“We will continue to focus on initiatives that will contribute to Lattice’s long term success, specifically in areas where our affordable, low power, small form factor devices create advantages," Billerbeck said. "Additionally, we remain committed to achieving profitable growth by extending processing and connectivity solutions beyond our core business. Lattice’s future remains bright."
In a separate statement, Canyon Bridge also expressed its disappointment and said it remained focused on other investment opportunities "where we can work with exceptional companies to create jobs and grow revenue."
—Dylan McGrath is the editor-in-chief of EE Times.