According to sources familiar with the matter, US chipmaker Broadcom will pursue early European Union antitrust clearance for its $61 billion VMware acquisition by citing rivalry from Amazon, Microsoft and Google.
The transaction was announced in May and is the second-largest buyout this year. Broadcom aims to expand its business into enterprise software.
Regulators worldwide are worried about power consolidation and the risk of larger firms purchasing start-ups to destroy them. Broadcom must receive clearance from European antitrust regulators before it can finalize the deal.
Broadcom has not yet asked for approval
“This (deal) is creating more competition in the cloud market where there are very big players now”, an insider source told Reuters. The source added that the European Commission’s four-month-long second-phase investigation may not need to happen.
“For the Commission to go to phase two, there has to be a real competition problem – horizontal, vertical, foreclosure risk – and I think we can show those risks don’t really exist in this case”, the source noted.
Broadcom has not yet sought EU approval for the acquisition. The company said that it continues to progress with numerous regulatory submissions worldwide, adding that the work is proceeding as planned.
Competitive pressure on VMware increases
In its evaluation of Dell’s $67 billion acquisition of data storage giant EMC in 2016, the EU competition regulator said that EMC’s VMware had a strong position but neither the ability nor motive to lock out competitors.
“In the last five years, what we have seen is an exponential growth of competitive pressure on VMWare on the part of those competitors that the Commission didn’t take into account”, another insider source said, referring to major cloud providers like Amazon, Microsoft and Google. This should be a first phase investigation based on the facts.”