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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

On Monday I was sent a four-page memo purportedly written by a Defense Department official, requesting that the U.S. Treasury launch a national security review of Broadcom's proposed $18 billion takeover of CA Technologies.

The details: The sender claimed to be a government official who shared the memo's concerns that Broadcom, which recently reconciled from Singapore to the U.S., is beholden to Chinese interests because of its client base and the physical locations of its manufacturing facilities.

Other sources said that neither Broadcom nor CA had requested a CFIUS review after announcing the deal in July, despite Broadcom having previously been blocked from buying Qualcomm on national security grounds, and that no review had yet been initiated.

  • I spent much of the next 48 hours trying to authenticate the memo, including through communications with the Defense Department and Broadcom.
  • Early yesterday a DoD spokeswoman emailed: "Our initial assessment is that this is likely fraudulent document."
  • So I didn't write about it, but kept making calls.

Then, shortly after the newsletter went out, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said during a public hearing that CFIUS should review the proposed deal, adding that he would soon send a letter to that effect. He also cited two statistics included in the memo, although those statistics also are publicly available via the intertubes.

  • We reported on his statements, sending both Broadcom and CA stock lower.
  • Broadcom then publicly revealed the existence of the memo, which it hadn't known about until my initial call, saying DoD had confirmed it to be a "forged document." [note: DoD's statement to me was slightly less definitive]
  • Once Broadcom had disclosed the memo's existence, I felt it was fair game to also write about it.
  • Rand Paul later sent his letter to Treasury Sec. Mnuchin, with a top staffer denying that Paul's office had ever seen the memo.

Bottom line: Assuming the memo was indeed fraudulent, then we might have just entered a new phase of short-seller espionage.

  • To be clear, I don't know if my original source was in on that, or just being used (I tend to think the latter, but can't be sure).
  • But no matter how fake the memo might have been, Broadcom's potential roadblock to buying CA has become very real, thanks to the actions of Senator Paul.

Go deeper

Broncos and 49ers the latest NFL teams impacted by coronavirus crisis

From left, Denver Broncos quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Jeff Driskel during an August training session at UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, Colorado. Photo: Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the NFL season into chaos, with the Denver Broncos' quarterbacks sidelined, the San Francisco 49ers left without a home or practice ground and much of the Baltimore Ravens team unavailable, per AP.

Driving the news: The Broncos confirmed in a statement Saturday night that quarterbacks Drew Lock, Brett Rypien and Blake Bortles were identified as "high-risk COVID-19 close contacts" and will follow the NFL's mandatory five-day quarantine, making them ineligible for Sunday's game against New Orleans.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: McConnell temporarily halts in-person lunches for GOP caucus.
  3. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in DecemberAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  4. Education: U.S. public school enrollment drops as pandemic persists.
  5. Cities: Surge in cases forces San Francisco to impose curfew — Los Angeles County issues stay-at-home order, limits gatherings.
  6. Sports: NFL bans in-person team activities Monday, Tuesday due to COVID-19 surge — NBA announces new coronavirus protocols.
  7. World: London police arrest more than 150 during anti-lockdown protests — Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.

Tony Hsieh, longtime Zappos CEO, dies at 46

Tony Hsieh. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic

Tony Hsieh, the longtime ex-chief executive of Zappos, died on Friday after being injured in a house fire, his lawyer told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He was 46.

The big picture: Hsieh was known for his unique approach to management, and following the 2008 recession his ongoing investment and efforts to revitalize the downtown Las Vegas area.