Ex-Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs May Still Lead Takeover Bid
Former Qualcomm Chairman Paul Jacobs is continuing his efforts to raise money to buy the San Diego cellular giant and take it private, two news outlets reported Thursday.
Bloomberg and CNBC said Jacobs is in discussions with potential investors to see if he can raise enough capital to acquire the company. Both news organizations cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
A representative for Jacobs declined to comment other than to say it's early and his efforts to explore an acquisition of Qualcomm were already disclosed.
Jacobs, former chief executive and chairman of Qualcomm, revealed earlier this year that he wanted to buy the company and take it private. He was removed from Qualcomm's board of directors in March after informing fellow directors of his intentions.
Jacobs' move is considered a long shot by industry observers because of the massive amount of investment required to pull it off.
Qualcomm's board rejected a $117 billion offer from Broadcom earlier this year on the grounds that it undervalued the company given its long-term growth prospects.
Broadcom's hostile takeover attempt was eventually blocked by President Trump over national security concerns. Broadcom was based in Singapore at the time but earlier this month moved its headquarters to San Jose.
According to Bloomberg, Jacobs, who owns less than 1 percent of Qualcomm, is in discussions with strategic investors, sovereign wealth funds and wealthy individuals in hopes of raising the money necessary to buy the chipmaker.
CNBC reported that Jacobs has hired bankers and lawyers to pursue a deal. The report mentions British semiconductor design firm ARM -- which is owned by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank and its Vision Fund -- as a possible investor.
ARM denied that it has talked to Jacobs about a possible acquisition involving Qualcomm. " "There have been no discussions between Arm and Paul Jacobs on any potential acquisition of Qualcomm," a spokesperson said told CNBC.
Jacobs does not believe Qualcomm should split its troubled patent licensing division from its mobile chip division, according to the CNBC report. His plan for turning around the chip maker reportedly would require a large investment and other steps that shareholders would likely view as unpalatable.
Son of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs, Paul Jacobs served as Qualcomm's CEO from 2005 to 2014 before handing the reins to current CEO Steve Mollenkopf.
Jacobs was chairman of the company's board until earlier this year, when he stepped down amid Broadcom's hostile takeover battle.
A few days later, Qualcomm's board announced that Jacobs would not be nominated for re-election to the board at the company's March shareholder meeting, a move Jacobs called disappointing.
Qualcomm's stock price has lagged semiconductor peers for at least three years, weighed down by its bruising legal dispute with Apple over patent fees, hefty fines from antitrust regulators and a stagnant smartphone market.
The company has been trying to buy Dutch automotive chip maker NXP Semiconductors for more than a year to diversity its business beyond smartphones. But the deal has yet to receive regulatory clearance in China amid rising trade tensions with the U.S.
Qualcomm is scheduled to report earnings on April 25. Its shares ended trading Thursday at $55.20 but jumped to $57.35 in after-hours trading following the CNBC and Bloomberg reports.
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Image credit: Qualcomm/Artist's concept.
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