Chinese-owned computer chip maker Nexperia is all set to take over a Dutch semiconductor startup, after the Netherlands government said it won’t block the acquisition.
Economic Affairs Minister Micky Adriaansens said that, after an assessment, the Dutch government had “no legal objections” to Nexperia’s acquisition of chip start-up Nowi.
Nexperia bought Nowi, which makes power management chips, for an undisclosed sum in 2022.
Nowi’s chips can use ambient sources of electricity such as light or vibrations as a power source, which could potentially remove the need for batteries in simple electronic devices.
In May this year, the Dutch government decided to vet the deal retroactively after it established a new office to review foreign takeovers of potentially sensitive technologies.
Nexperia said on Monday it welcomed the Dutch government’s decision to green-light the deal.
“While we’ve always said that Nowi’s and Nexperia’s technology is harmless, today’s announcement confirms this,” Nexperia Netherlands director Charles Smit said in a press release.
“It is important that there is a clear policy that strengthens the Dutch investment climate. In these uncertain times, a transparent, fact-based dialogue between government and business is of paramount importance.”
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Nexperia’s year of hiccups
The review and the subsequent approval for Nexperia’s takeover comes at a time when the West is increasingly clamping down on transfers of critical technology to China.
Nexperia has found itself in the crosshairs of that effort multiple times over the last year.
In November 2022, the UK government ordered Nexperia to sell at least 86% of Britain’s biggest microchip factory, Newport Wafer Fab, following a national security assessment.
Nexperia had acquired the Newport fab in 2021.
The British government said Newport’s acquisition was a national security risk related to the technology and know-how which could result from compound semiconductor activities at the site. It said those activities could undermine British capabilities.
In June this year, the German government also denied the chip firm’s request for subsidies for a project on using chips to help batteries run more efficiently.
Nexperia itself was a division of Dutch chipmaker NXP. China’s Wingtech Technology acquired semiconductor component maker in 2018. The firm indirectly owns 75.9% of Nexperia.
That was soon after Chinese regulators thwarted a $44-billion deal for US chipmaker Qualcomm to buy NXP. The chipmakers needed Beijing’s blessing for their deal because of their presence in China.
- Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena