China’s Tsinghua Unigroup unveiled a stake of roughly 6 per cent in Lattice Semiconductor Corp on Wednesday, sending shares of the US chip manufacturer soaring 18 per cent on speculation of a possible acquisitions The move is the latest sign of Tsinghua’s desire to be a part of the US semiconductor industry after it scrapped plans to acquire Micron Technology Inc and invest in Western Digital Corp. Tsinghua said in a regulatory filing its stake in Lattice was for “investment purposes,” but that it may also enter into discussions with management about a “possible commercial agreement.” It added that it could buy more shares or sell its stake. Reuters reported in February that Lattice had attracted interest from an unidentified Chinese buyer and had decided to explore a sale. Based in Portland, Oregon, Lattice makes programmable logic chips and related software used in a variety of items from smartphones to cars. Its shares rose 99 cents to US$6.36, giving it a market capitalization of roughly US$740 million. One of Tsinghua’s divisions, Unisplendour, scrapped a $3.78 billion minority investment in US hard-disk maker Western Digital Corp earlier this year after the US Committee on Foreign Investment, which scrutinises deals for potential national security concerns, decided to review the transaction. It also looked at acquiring Micron Technology last year. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, made up of the Treasury Department, Defense Department and other agencies, must approve any deal that could harm national security. Paul Marquardt, an attorney at Cleary Gottlieb, said an investment like Tsinghua’s in Lattice, which is below a 10 per cent threshold and does not involve special governance rights, should not cause CFIUS concerns. But CFIUS could scrutinise the deal if the two companies strike a more elaborate deal, such as a merger or joint venture, he added. “If this is some kind of anchor for a broader business or joint venture relationship, (CFIUS) could be interested in that and ask questions, but you wouldn’t think the 6 per cent shareholding would be key to the deal,” Marquardt said. In 2012, Chinese nationals were arrested for attempting to smuggle out dual-use programmable logic devices made by Lattice. Chinese companies and funds have been increasingly bidding on overseas semiconductor companies to build up China’s domestic chip industry. Earlier in April, a Shanghai-based fund, National Silicon Industry Group, made a takeover bid for Finland’s Okmetic, a maker of silicon wafers.