The European Commission has accepted the requests submitted by 15 EU Member States to assess the proposed acquisition of Autotalks by Qualcomm under the EU Merger Regulation (‘EUMR').
These referral requests reached the Commission after it had invited Member States to make a referral request. Qualcomm is a global US-based semiconductor manufacturer serving various industries, including the automotive sector where its chipsets enable vehicles to communicate directly with each other and with their surrounding environment (vehicles-to-everything (‘V2X') communications). Autotalks is an Israeli semiconductor manufacturer specialized in V2X semiconductors.
The proposed acquisition does not reach the notification thresholds set out in the EUMR, and it was not notifiable in any Member State. Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain and Sweden submitted initial referral requests to the Commission pursuant to Article 22(1) of the EUMR. This provision allows Member States to request the Commission to examine a merger that does not have an EU dimension but affects trade within the single market and threatens to significantly affect competition within the territory of the Member States making the request. Other countries of the European Economic Area (‘EEA') had the opportunity to join the original referral requests. Subsequently, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal, Romania and Slovakia joined the initial referral requests.
On the basis of the information available to the Commission at this early stage, and without prejudice to the outcome of its full investigation, the Commission considers that the transaction meets the criteria for referral under Article 22 of the EUMR. In particular, the transaction would combine two of the main suppliers of V2X semiconductors in the EEA. The V2X technology is key to improving road safety, traffic management and reducing CO2 emissions as well as for the deployment of autonomous vehicles. It is therefore important to ensure that customers such as original equipment manufacturers or infrastructure managers retain access to V2X technology at competitive prices and conditions. The Commission has asked Qualcomm to notify the transaction. Qualcomm cannot implement the transaction before notifying and obtaining clearance from the Commission.
This is the second occasion on which the Commission has accepted referral requests under Article 22(1) of the EUMR in application of its Article 22 Guidance adopted on 26 March 2021.