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Trump blocks sale of US tech firm to Chinese company
 
US President Donald Trump’s order to block sale of US chipmaker Lattice Semiconductor Corp to Chinese investor comes as the US has been toughening its stance on business dealings with China. Photo: AFP
 
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday issued an order blocking a group that includes a Chinese venture capital firm from purchasing Lattice Semiconductor Corp., citing national security concerns.
 
Trump's decision is the fourth time a president has barred a private deal on national security grounds. President Barack Obama used that authority twice, in both cases against Chinese companies.
 
In 1990, President George HW Bush also blocked a Chinese company from acquiring a Seattle manufacturer.
 
In the case of Portland, Oregon-based Lattice, the buyer would have been Canyon Bridge Capital Partners, which is backed by China Venture Capital Fund Corporation Limited, which the White House said is "owned by Chinese state-owned entities."
 
Since November, Canyon Bridge Capital Partners has been seeking approval for a $1.3bn (£984m) deal to buy Lattice Semiconductor.
 
The order comes as the US has been toughening its stance on business dealings with China.
 
The US last month launched a formal review of China's intellectual property practices, which it says may force US companies to surrender valuable information. 
 
US politicians and military leaders have also urged the administration to take a closer look at Chinese investments in the US, particularly in the technology industry.
 
American presidents are empowered to stop the sale of domestic companies to foreign buyers if there is a potential threat to national security — either because of what the U.S. company does, or due to the nature of the would-be buyer.
 
In a statement, the White House said, in this case, "the national-security risk posed by the transaction relates to, among other things, the potential transfer of intellectual property to the foreign acquirer, the Chinese government's role in supporting this transaction, the importance of semiconductor supply chain integrity to the United States Government, and the use of Lattice products by the United States Government."
 
Lattice has faced falling revenue, with losses in 2016 and 2015. The proposal from Canyon Bridge offered a premium on its share price.
 
Lattice chief executive Darin Billerbeck said the failed deal "was in the best interests of our shareholders, our customers, our employees and the United States".
 
Canyon Bridge said in a statement "we are obviously disappointed in today's decision by the President of the United States to forgo what we believe to be an excellent deal for Lattice's shareholders and its employees by expanding the opportunity to keep jobs in America." 
 
The decisions also come as Chinese investment in the US surged, exceeding $46bn in 2016, triple the amount in 2015, according to the Rhodium Group.
 
Other deals waiting approval include Jack Ma's Ant Financial bid to buy US money transfer company MoneyGram for $1.2bn.
 
China Oceanwide Holdings Group is also seeking approval of its $2.7bn acquisition of US insurance company Genworth Financial.
 

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