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Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump is about to get his first big M&A test, and it has nothing to do with AT&T-Time Warner.

Oregon-based Lattice Semiconductor today said that it will ask Trump to directly approve its proposed $1.3 billion takeover by China-backed private equity firm Canyon Bridge, after receiving indications that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS) will recommend the deal be either suspended or prohibited.

Timeline: The President has 15 calendar days to side with CFIUS or Lattice. The final decision is his alone.

  • At issue: Critics argue that the deal poses national security concerns, as Lattice's "field programmable gate array" technology could theoretically be used by China's military. Lattice currently does not currently sell military-grade chips, but it once did and its rivals now do. Canyon Bridge is based in Silicon Valley, but appears to be primarily funded by a Chinese limited partner tied to the country's government. Lattice argues that the national security concerns are fiction.
  • Kind of crazy: The merger agreement does not include a reverse termination fee in connection to CFIUS approval failure, even though such a thing was always the deal's greatest risk.
  • Context: CFIUS was widely expected to become more stringent under Trump, particularly based on a January memo that suggested the implementation of a reciprocity test. This is particularly true in matters that involve national security and China (a country whose incoming deals now dominate CFIUS, after having been a relative nonfactor for most of its existence).

Go deeper

Cuomo faces fresh misconduct allegations from former aides

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo during a February press conference in New York City. Photo: Seth Wenig/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) was on Saturday facing fresh accusations of misconduct against his staff, including further allegations of inappropriate behavior against two more women. His office denies the claims.

Driving the news: The Washington Post reported Cuomo allegedly embraced an aide when he led the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and that two male staffers who worked for him in the governor's office accused him of routinely berating them "with explicit language."