Chip giant Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) has updated its tender offer for every share of automotive computing expert NXP Semiconductors (NASDAQ:NXPI) again. Despite raising the all-cash bid from $110 to $127.50 per NXP share in February, Qualcomm is still looking for widespread investor support -- and one last regulatory approval in China.

Let's look at what's new in this $44 billion merger saga.

By the numbers

When NXP shareholders commit their stubs to Qualcomm's offer, the shares may be withdrawn at any time. Here's the latest tally:

Offer Update

NXP Shares Tendered

% of Shares Tendered

March 23, 2018

52.0 million


March 16, 2018

56.6 million


March 9, 2018

65.3 million


March 5, 2018

36.1 million


February 2018

5.3 million


January 2018

5.7 million


December 2017

6.6 million


November 2017

8.1 million


October 2017

12.3 million


September 2017

10.9 million


August 2017

23.5 million


July 2017

25.6 million


June 28, 2017

42.2 million


June 1, 2017

47.7 million


May 2017

50.3 million


April 2017

54.8 million


March 2017

58.0 million


February 2017

49.6 million


Data Source: Qualcomm.

Two young businesspeople express their confusion over news on their computer screens.

Image source: Getty Images.

What's new?

Investor support for this deal surged on the heels of Qualcomm's boosted offer, then started plunging again almost immediately. Chinese regulators are said to be looking for excuses to block Qualcomm's NXP takeover, as the government wants to create a strong chip industry within China. Putting two of the world's largest players together would undermine that ambition.

Furthermore, the merger has become a pawn in the eternal game of international politics. President Trump recently blocked Broadcom's (NASDAQ:AVGO) proposed takeover of Qualcomm, supposedly in the interest of protecting American interests against challenges from the Far East. Just a few days later, the U.S. set up steep import tariffs for some Chinese goods in the hope of starting a winnable trade war. Now, President Trump's Chinese counterparts might stop the Qualcomm-NXP deal as a quick revenge for these hostile actions.

The new offer will expire at the close of business on April 2, giving us another week to digest these numbers. The renewals are coming fast and furious these days as Qualcomm sees the light at the end of a 17-month tunnel.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm finally got around to holding its annual shareholders' meeting last Friday. All 10 of Qualcomm's nominees for the board of directors were elected, which is unsurprising since Broadcom's competing slate had not only been withdrawn but expressly forbidden to pose any challenge to Qualcomm's own proxy card.

But several of those nominees won their seats with less than 50% of the incoming votes, including CEO Steve Mollenkopf. Whether Qualcomm manages to save its troubled NXP deal or not, investors both large and small are looking for new thinking at this point.

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