For a brief moment in the depths of the European night, it looked like NXP Semiconductors’s stint as a political bargaining chip was finally over. It could only dream. Chinese regulators were set to approve the Dutch chip maker’s $43bn takeover by Qualcomm, according to the South China Morning Post. NXP jumped as much as 12% in after-hours trading, peaking just $2 short of the $127.50 offer price. A mere 45 minutes later, Bloomberg News reported that US President Donald Trump had approved tariffs on about $50bn of Chinese goods, including technology products. NXP shares erased most of their gains on concern its deal will be blocked in retribution. The combination is designed to create a connected car powerhouse, combining the Dutch company’s automotive power management strength with the US giant’s dominance in communications technology. But the takeover had become a political football after the Trump administration penalised Chinese telecoms equipment maker ZTE for breaking a 2017 s...

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