Qualcomm’s bid for Israel’s Autotalks needs EU antitrust approval

By Foo Yun Chee and Sudip Kar-Gupta

BRUSSELS (Reuters) -U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm will have to seek EU antitrust approval for its planned takeover of Israeli auto-chip maker Autotalks even though the deal is below the European Union’s turnover threshold, EU regulators said on Friday.

The European Commission cited the importance of the deal to original equipment manufacturers and others who need access to vehicle-to-everything (V2X) semiconductors.

The EU competition watchdog said 15 EU countries, including France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden had asked it to examine the deal.

It said Qualcomm would have to secure EU antitrust approval before it can close the deal.

“The transaction would combine two of the main suppliers of V2X semiconductors in the EEA (European Economic Area). The V2X technology is key to improving road safety, traffic management and reducing CO2 emissions as well as for the deployment of autonomous vehicles,” the Commission said in a statement.

“It is therefore important to ensure that customers such as original equipment manufacturers or infrastructure managers retain access to V2X technology at competitive prices and conditions.”

Qualcomm, which announced the planned takeover in May to expand its automotive-related business, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Autotalks makes dedicated chips used in the V2X communications technology sector for manned and driverless vehicles, with a view to improving road safety.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)