UPDATE 2-China regulators approve Qualcomm-NXP Semiconductors merger deal -SCMP

-SCMP@ (Adds analyst comments)

June 14 (Reuters) - Chinese regulators have approved U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm Inc's proposed $44 billion merger deal with NXP Semiconductors, South China Morning Post reported on Thursday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

The decision by China's Ministry of Commerce clears a months-long antitrust roadblock caused by trade tensions between the United States and Beijing and will allow the takeover to proceed, SCMP reported. (https://bit.ly/2l87thk)

With the green light from China's Ministry of Commerce, the deal has effectively been approved by all nine required global regulators.

Qualcomm initially announced its bid for Dutch semiconductor company NXP Semiconductors in October 2016.

Qualcomm did not immediately comment on the report. NXP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon said the approval was the last major barrier for Qualcomm to close the deal, which had earlier encountered resistance from NXP shareholders until Qualcomm raised its offer. He said the San Diego chipmaker aims to use the NXP deal to diversify its business, which is currently heavily focused on mobile phones.

"In some of the end markets like automotive that Qualcomm have been trying to push into, they'll get a distribution presence" by acquiring NXP's sales force, Rasgon said. (Reporting by Nikhil Subba in Bengaluru; Editing by James Dalgleish and Grant McCool)