China's Fujian drops Aixtron bid after Obama blocks deal

Thu Dec 8, 2016 12:35pm EST
 
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By Maria Sheahan

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - China's Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund has dropped its takeover bid for chip equipment maker Aixtron after the United States blocked the deal on security grounds, throwing the German company's future into doubt.

The collapse of the Aixtron deal comes amid growing objections in Germany and the United States to China buying up firms with strategic technologies abroad without allowing reciprocal transactions at home.

Fujian's takeover vehicle Grand Chip Investment said on Thursday its offer had lapsed as it had failed to obtain the necessary U.S. regulatory approvals.

The 670 million euro ($723 million) takeover offer announced in May was already in doubt after the German government withdrew its approval in October, reportedly at the bidding of the United States.

U.S. President Barack Obama then stopped Fujian from buying Aixtron U.S. following an assessment by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), an inter-agency task force under the Treasury Department.

China's Foreign Ministry fired back at what it called "groundless accusations" against Chinese firms by the United States and lamented the "politicization" of what it said was a commercial takeover.

The German Economy Ministry said it was dropping a review of the deal now the bidder had withdrawn.

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The logo of Aixtron SE is pictured on the roof of the German chip equipment maker's headquarters in Herzogenrath near the western German city of Aachen, October 25, 2016.  REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay