IBM was interested in buying the Israeli chip maker, Tower Semiconductor, and the acquisition might have raised antitrust concerns in Israel, the US, the EU, and elsewhere around the world. Each of those antitrust concerns, if acted on, would have had effect only inside the nation raising the concern, however, making the matter purely a business decision whether to go through with the merger and simply not do business in the objection nation. Nobody objected, though, except the People’s Republic of China.
The PRC’s State Administration for Market Regulation balked and withheld approval, so IBM meekly quit the deal altogether, apparently in order to appease the PRC and preserve—IBM hoped—its other business concerns there.
Slow walking or outright blocking tech and other mergers with, or acquisitions by, American companies is part of the PRC’s economic aggression against us as that nation objects to our objecting to the PRC’s economic aggressions and to its tech and intellectual property extortion and theft. IBM is working, it seems, at cross-purposes with our struggle against the PRC.
Other moves by the PRC have included blocking
- Qualcomm‘s acquisition of Netherland’s chip maker NXP Semiconductors
- DuPont‘s acquisition of electronics-materials specialist Rogers Corp, an Arizona-headquartered company
- certain PRC domiciled companies from buying memory chips from US chip giant Micron
It would have been better for IBM—and those other companies, too; IBM‘s managers don’t have a lock on timidity—to proceed with the acquisition and to eliminate the PRC’s antitrust concerns by not doing business associated with the acquisition’s chips inside the PRC or with businesses domiciled inside the PRC. Or for IBM, et al., to stop doing business with the PRC altogether.
It would have been a beneficial twofer had IBM gone ahead on with the acquisition: IBM and Tower merge, Israel, the US, the EU, and most of the rest of the world would reap the benefits of the merging, and IBM and Tower would be out from under the PRC’s regulatory thumb.
It would be beneficial for our nation, too, if the managers of our businesses had the courage to stand up to our enemies and walk away from them.