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EU Commission opens anti-trust inquiry into Broadcom’s $61B VMware acquisition

EU Commission opens anti-trust inquiry into Broadcom’s $61B VMware acquisition

Investigation relates to concerns of price gouging and decreased competition for hardware components that interoperate with VMware's software.

Hock Tan (Broadcom)

Hock Tan (Broadcom)

Credit: Broadcom

A month after the UK’s Competition Market’s Authority (CMA) announced it was investigating Broadcom’s proposed acquisition of VMware, European anti-trust regulators have launched its own probe into the $61 billion deal.

In a statement published on December 20, the European Commission said it “is particularly concerned that the transaction would allow Broadcom to restrict competition in the market for certain hardware components which interoperate with VMware's software.”

Elaborating on its concerns, the Commission said the deal could impact the supply of network interface cards, Fibre Channel host-bus adapters, and storage adapters by degrading interoperability between VMware software and competitors' hardware to the benefit of its own hardware, leading to higher prices, lower quality and less innovation for business customers and consumers.

These concerns are not unfounded, as Tracey Woo, senior analyst for Forrester, noted back in September that following the purchases of CA and Symantec, Broadcom raised prices, decreased support, and stopped investing in innovation.

However, Broadcom President and CEO Hock Tan had already sought to allay these fears with VMware’s customers, writing in an October blog post that “the Broadcom business case for this transaction is premised on focusing on the business model, increasing RD, and executing so that customers see the value of the full portfolio of innovative product offerings — not on increasing prices.”

The Commission now has until 11 May 2023, 90 working days, to make a ruling. Broadcom did not immediately respond to requests for comment.


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