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The World’s Biggest Ever Semiconductor Merger May Be Back on Track, Thanks to a China Thaw

Qualcomm (QCOM) is reportedly set to get the go-ahead in China for its planned takeover of NXP, the Dutch semiconductor firm.

Chinese regulatory approval for the merger had stalled, in the context of the ongoing trade spat between China and the U.S., but it seems the recent thaw in that dispute has cleared the way again.

According to the Wall Street Journal‘s sources, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation will give its approval to the takeover within days.

Reuters‘ sources also said the watchdog had conducted “productive talks” with Qualcomm’s representatives in Beijing on Friday, and the Californian chip giant was “cautiously optimistic” about its chances.

Qualcomm’s $44 billion takeover of NXP (NXPI) will, if it follows through, be the largest in the semiconductor industry. NXP is a major player in chips for security cards, the internet of things and the automotive sector, while Qualcomm is particularly big in processors for the mobile industry.

It seems the fate of the deal is linked to that of Chinese phone company ZTE (ZTCOY), which the U.S. had banned from buying American components—such as Qualcomm processors—due to ZTE breaking sanctions on Iran. President Donald Trump’s administration said Friday that it would lift that ban in exchange for ZTE paying a $1.3 billion fine and making management changes.