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Even a brief review of CFIUS-related cases in the past few years demonstrates the broad ambit of transactions that can invoke national security in the agency's eyes. These include:

  • Alcatel/Lucent: In 2006, CFIUS recommended approval of the merger of Lucent Technologies, including Lucent's Bell Labs, with Alcatel, a French telecommunications firm, but required the companies to enter into a national security agreement and consent to a further review if certain conditions were not met.
  • Bain Capital/3Com: In the course of a February 2008 CFIUS review, Bain Capital withdrew its proposed takeover of 3Com, a U.S.-based information technology company that supplies anti-hacking technology to the Defense Department. The withdrawal came after questions arose as to the minority participation of Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications company with alleged ties to the People's Liberation Army.
  • Citic Securities/Bear Stearns: In 2007, CFIUS approved a $1 billion investment by Citic, a state-controlled Chinese investment bank, in Bear Stearns.
  • Check Point/Sourcefire: In 2006, Check Point, an Israeli company, blamed an ongoing CFIUS investigation for termination of an agreement to buy Sourcefire, a U.S. company that developed intrusion detection technology used by the federal government.
  • Smartmatic/Sequoia Voting Systems: In 2006, members of Congress and the media pressured CFIUS to review the purchase of a U.S. electronic voting machine by Smartmatic, a Florida company controlled by Venezuelan shareholders allegedly connected to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Shortly afterward, Smartmatic sold the voting machine business to Sequoia Voting Systems.


Julius Melnitzer

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