Shares of NXP Semiconductors (NXPI 3.79%) jumped as much as 15.8% higher in Monday's trading, lifting as the pending buyout offer from Qualcomm (QCOM 4.17%) reportedly took an important step toward closing. As of 1:40 p.m. EDT, NXP shares had settled down to a 13.3% gain. Qualcomm's peak gains on the same news stopped at 4.7%.
According to a Bloomberg report citing unnamed insiders, government officials have asked China's Ministry of Commerce to speed up its review of the merger, which Qualcomm and NXP refiled as the original application expired last week. Bloomberg's sources said that the deal still could be canceled and the final word could be weeks or months in the making, but progress is progress. Qualcomm stands one small step closer to completing a $44 billion buyout that would give the chipmaker a strong foothold in the automotive computing market.
Having Beijing on your side would be a big help, and it sounds like that's the situation here. At the same time, NXP investors aren't buying into the story with full conviction as share prices remain some 12% below Qualcomm's all-cash offer of $127.50 per share. I don't know exactly what Qualcomm and NXP could do to facilitate this last approval process.