The Deals and No Deals that shaped 2017

December 20, 2017 // By Peter Clarke
Here is a top ten list of deals, in roughly chronological order that had a major impact in 2017. It's the business year in revew in one easy read.

The list below is complementary to a further 10 deals that were directly relevant to the analog, MEMS and sensors sector in 2017 (see Deals that shaped the analog, MEMS and sensors world in 2017).

1) Qualcomm's pursuit of NXP

Throughout 2017 mobile semiconductor giant Qualcomm has had an agreement in place with the board of directors of NXP Semiconductor NV (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) that it will buy the Dutch company for about $39 billion. But Qualcomm has yet to persuade regulators of the deal and all of NXP's shareholders. The year started with the idea that the price was already looking low (see Could NXP shareholders get more cash from Qualcomm?).

Then there was stop-start slowness around competition regulators investigations apparently related to the companies' own inability to produce certain documentation (see EU starts investigation on Qualcomm’s NXP takeover and Europe halts review of Qualcomm's takeover of NXP). And finally the admission came that the deal would be unlikely to complete in 2017 (see Qualcomm's purchase of NXP could slip into 2018 and Qualcomm must raise offer or abandon pursuit of NXP).

Meanwhile Qualcomm was itself being pursued – in the courts by Apple and in the market place by Broadcomm (see below).

2) Toshiba sells its memories

Toshiba was in trouble with an enormous accounting scandal in 2015 but in 2016 the problems moved to its nuclear power business where losses were in the billions. It had initially said it wanted to sell off no more than 19.9 percent of the semiconductor business.

As Toshiba was forced to submit unaudited accounts in February the scale of the problem increased and it emerged that the company needed to sell off the semiconductor business lock stock and barrel to come close to stabilizing the rest of the business (see Toshiba mulls sell off of all of chip business and Toshiba casts doubt on its own survival).

Seeking to auction off the business upset Toshiba's long-time partner in NAND flash production Western Digital, which asserted Toshiba was making moves that were prohibited under joint-venture agreements. The row escalated (see Toshiba sues Western Digital for $1 billion) while Toshiba was trying to negotiate with two or three consortia.

In September Toshiba finally signed a $18 billion deal with a consortium of acquirers (see Toshiba sells flash memory business to consortium, Apple gets its share). The consortium is led by Bain Capital and includes Apple, Dell, Korea's SK Hynix and Japan’s Hoya Corporation. Toshiba may even be able to maintain a stake in this memory business. The deal could close by March 2018 – or regulators may yet take exception to the presence of leading flash memory company SK Hynix in the consortium.

Next: All change in IP


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