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Foxconn to Buy Consumer Electronics Company Belkin in Another Foreign Bid for a U.S. Firm

March 27, 2018, 9:46 AM UTC

Foxconn is still best known as the behind-the-scenes contract manufacturer of gadgets like Apple’s iPhone, but it’s increasingly stepping out of the shadows. A couple years back it bought the big Japanese consumer electronics brand Sharp, and now it’s announced plans to buy the United State’s Belkin.

Belkin, which comes with brands such as Linksys and Wemo, makes everything from Wi-Fi routers and home automation products to keyboards and phone chargers.

The deal, which still requires regulatory approval, comes at a cash price of $866 million.

Chet Pipkin, Belkin’s CEO and founder, said in a statement that he saw “significant synergies” with Foxconn Interconnect Technology (FIT), the division that’s making the purchase. “The transaction also grants us access to more resources to invest in our people and to aggressively pursue opportunities in the marketplace,” he said.

FIT chief Sidney Lu, meanwhile, said the takeover would “enrich our portfolio of premium consumer products and accelerate our penetration into the smart home.” Belkin also brings with it around 700 patents.

The purchase will likely require the scrutiny of the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment (CFIUS), which recently hit the headlines by stalling Broadcom’s unsolicited bid for Qualcomm until President Donald Trump outright nixed that deal.

As a Taiwanese company, Foxconn may have direct links to China—and this is a sensitive time for Chinese companies in the tech space trying to move into the U.S.—but it is also trying to set up display-manufacturing facilities in Wisconsin, where it’s promising to create at least 13,000 jobs. However, the new facility in Wisconsin’s Racine County is proving controversial, due to the fact that the state would pay Foxconn up to $3 billion in taxpayer money, tied to the number of jobs it creates.