On Wednesday local time, under pressure from British lawmakers, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the British government would review the acquisition of Newport wafer fab, the largest semiconductor company in the UK, by Wentai technology’s anser semiconductor.
The British opposition put pressure on the government
On Monday, Wentai technology announced that its subsidiary anser semiconductor will acquire Newport wafer fab, a silicon chip factory in Wales, which mainly produces semiconductors for the automotive industry.
The guardian and other foreign media pointed out that the British government had obviously acquiesced in the acquisition. It is estimated that the purchase price is about 63 million pounds (about 562 million yuan).
But on Tuesday, members of the British opposition party voiced their opposition. Labour MPs argued that the government should “use its power under the national security and investment act to urgently review the acquisition.”. Ed Miliband, the UK’s shadow commerce secretary, also said: “given the importance of semiconductors to our country’s critical infrastructure, there is clear reason to look at this issue from a national security perspective.”
According to the newly passed national security and investment act, the British government can widely intervene in business transactions when it “poses an unacceptable risk to British national security”. British officials will have up to five years to review the deal and have the right to cancel it if they judge it to be a threat.
The British government will step in
In the face of pressure from Parliament, British Prime Minister Johnson said he had asked national security advisers to review the acquisition.
“I think semiconductors are very important to this country, and one of the things I want to focus on immediately after I become prime minister is whether we can become more self reliant,” Johnson told members of the parliamentary Liaison Committee
‘we have to judge whether the products made by this factory really have intellectual property value and whether they will have a real security impact,’ he said.
But he also warned that he did not want lawmakers to shut out all investment from China because of some emotions, “which is economically reckless.”.
Although Newport wafer fab is the largest semiconductor manufacturer in the UK, it is not large compared with the large semiconductor manufacturers in Asia and the United States. According to the announcement data, the total assets of Newport wafer fab at the end of fiscal year 2020 were 44.7076 million pounds (about 399 million yuan), the net assets were – 5.1773 million pounds (about – 46.23 million yuan), the operating income was 30.9110 million pounds (about 276 million yuan), and the net loss was 18.611 million pounds (about 166 million yuan).
At present, the British government is still investigating the acquisition of arm, a Cambridge based chip design company, by American chip company NVIDIA on the grounds of national security. The British government announced its intervention in the review in April this year, and the review was also carried out under external pressure.