An acquisition of the largest semiconductor manufacturer in the UK, Newport Wafer Fab (NWF) by Nexperia is rolling but could meet a regulatory roadblock.
While Nexperia said on Monday that it had taken control of NWF, the acquisition has come under the scrutiny of lawmakers.
According to chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee and Conservative MP for Tonbridge and Malling Tom Tugendhat, the UK may be reviewing the acquisition under the National Security and Investment Act.
The reason for this is because the chipmaker is rather important to the UK economy, especially in the midst of a global semiconductor shortage.
“The semiconductor industry sector falls under the scope of the legislation, the very purpose of which is to protect the nation’s technology companies from foreign takeovers when there is a material risk to economic and national security,” Tugendhat told CNBC.
While Tugendhat says that the acquisition is raising eyebrows around the world, that sentiment doesn’t seem to be shared by the UK government.
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in the UK, Kwasi Kwarteng, told The Guardian that while the government is monitoring the situation it “does not consider it appropriate to intervene at the current time”.
As for the acquisition, Nexperia says that NWF will compliment its other European operations.
“We are very excited to include Newport as part of our global manufacturing footprint. Nexperia has ambitious growth plans and adding Newport supports the growing global demand for semiconductors. The Newport facility has a very skilled operational team and has a crucial role to play to ensure continuity of operations. We look forward to building a future together,” says chief operations officer at Nexperia, Achim Kempe.
There was no mention of how much the acquisition is worth but that may be a moot point if the UK challenges it.
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