Trump administration blocks takeover of Portland-based Lattice Semiconductor by Chinese investor

Marco Green
September 14, 2017

President Donald Trump on Wednesday blocked Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, a private-equity firm backed by a Chinese state-owned asset manager, from purchasing a US chip maker, citing national security risk.

In the case of Lattice, CFIUS and the president decided "the transaction poses a risk to the national security of the United States that can not be resolved through mitigation", the Treasury said in a statement.

The White House also raised concerns over the buyer's close ties to Beijing. Bloomberg adds that there are several other Chinese deals under review: the MoneyGram International (MGI) sale to Ant Financial, a financial-services business controlled by Alibaba Group Holding (BABA) executive Chairman Jack Ma.

Lattice, a publicly traded company headquartered in Portland, Oregon, manufactures semiconductors for the consumer, communications, and industrial markets.

Trump has the authority to block foreign investments he deems national security threats through the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, an inter-agency committee.

The White House said on Wednesday that it prevented the acquisition of Lattice Semiconductor, in part because the United States government relies on the company's products. US officials worry that China's investment push could threaten the competitiveness of American industry and give Beijing access to cutting-edge technology with commercial and military applications.

But the process rarely gets that far. While a president in theory could overrule the panel's recommendation, the three previous proposals kicked up to the president since 1990 have been blocked as the panel advised.

"We are obviously disappointed in today's decision by the President of the United States to forgo what we believe to be an excellent deal for Lattice's shareholders and its employees by expanding the opportunity to keep jobs in America", Canyon Bridge said in a written statement.

Lattice executives have maintained that the company does not now supply the military.

Chinese investment into US firms so far in 2017 includes 83 deals worth about $25 billion, according to research firm Rhodium Group.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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