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Huawei to buy large stake in 3Com

12 октября 2007

Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications equipment maker, could acquire up to 21.5 per cent of 3Com and hold three of the 11 board seats as part of a deal to take over the US technology group with Bain Capital, but it will have “no ability to make decisions” for the company, a regulatory filing disclosed.

Huawei to buy large stake in 3ComThe recently announced $2.2bn proposed bid for 3Com by Bain, a US private equity group, and Huawei, which will initially take a 16.5 per cent minority stake, has come under scrutiny in Washington, where lawmakers have expressed alarm at Huawei’s allegedly close ties to the Chinese government.

3Com’s products include “intrusion prevention” technology that helps clients, including the US defence department, defend themselves against hackers.

Bain and 3Com have sought to submit the proposed transaction to an investigation by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (Cfius), the inter-agency panel that vets foreign deals on national security grounds.

In a filing Thursday, 3Com said Huawei, its largest customer, would not have any access to sensitive US-origin technology or US government sales.

3Com also said it did not operate classified contracts, and had “effective internal IP control and export compliance program­mes to prevent unauthorised transfers of control technology”.

Experts in Washington say the deal faces political hurdles on Capitol Hill and that officials at the defence department, an influential agency within Cfius, are sceptical about the deal. The Pentagon is believed to have recently come under cyber-attack by the Chinese.

The first question the US government is likely to pursue in its review of the deal is the extent of control Huawei may have over 3Com.

As part of a so-called control test, Cfius is likely to examine whether Bain has agreed to give Huawei minority investor protections, technology-sharing agreements, input on the appointment of executives and membership on board committees.In a filing, 3Com said Huawei would be able to increase its equity stake by up to 5 per cent based on certain criteria but could not gain additional seats on the board or gain “any measure of additional operating control”.

Huawei would also be barred from access to TippingPoint, a 3Com subsidiary that sells network security systems.

In a letter to Treasury secretary Hank Paulson, Duncan Hunter, the most senior Republican on the House armed services committee, said Congress would consider “Chinese ownership” of 3Com in future spending authorisations.

Источник: Financial Times

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