Broadcom Ltd. confirmed this morning that it has made an offer of $70 per share in cash and stock for Qualcomm Inc. It would also assume Qualcomm’s $25 billion of net debt for a transaction valued at about $130 billion.
This would make Broadcom the third largest chipmaker in the world, following Intel Corp. and Samsung Electronics Co. At $130 billion, this deal would almost double the current biggest tech deal – the Dell and EMC merger of $67 billion in 2015.
Qualcomm is best known for its Snapdragon chips inside the vast majority of smartphones. Smartphones released in 2017 with the Snapdragon chips include the Samsung Galaxy 8, 8 Plus, and Note 8, LG V30 and G6, Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, HTC U11, Razer Phone, Nokia 8, Motorola Moto Z Force, Sony Xperia XZ, Asus ZenFone AR, and more.
Broadcom, on the other hand, is best known for its chips and computer components that reside within smartphones, laptops, data centers, and more for companies like HTC, Google, and Apple. It also manufactures LEDs, displays, and network and Bluetooth adaptors. As of 2016, it was considered the fifth largest semiconductor vendor in the world, reporting an $18 billion annual sales revenue compared to Qualcomm’s reported $22 billion.
This announcement comes after a rough year for Qualcomm. In January, Apple filed an FTC anti-competition suit against Qualcomm for ‘withholding $1 billion as retaliation’. Meanwhile, Samsung and Intel both joined the United States Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) own antitrust lawsuit against the company.
This has lead to speculation that Apple could be dropping Qualcomm from its devices moving forward. Meanwhile, Apple and Broadcom’s relationship remains strong, with Apple accounting for one of Broadcom’s largest customers.
“This complementary transaction will position the combined company as a global communications leader with an impressive portfolio of technology and products,” said Hock Tan, president and CEO of Broadcom in a statement. “We would not make this offer if we were not confident that our common global customers would embrace the proposed combination. With greater scale and broader product diversification, the combined company will be positioned to deliver more advanced semiconductor solutions for our global customers and drive enhanced stockholder value.”
And Tan is no rookie to takeover negotiations. Since 2012 he has completed five deals including his $37 billion takeover of Broadcom in 2015 as the head of Avago. Broadcom may not just be buying Qualcomm, as the chipmaker has been working on finalizing its acquisition of another chipmaker, NXP, for $39 billion.
“Qualcomm shareholders are likely to be split with many viewing this opportunity as a solution to the worsening relations with Apple, who Broadcom has a good relationship with. The potential merger raises significant questions surrounding the difficult takeover of NXP by Qualcomm,” Stuart Carlaw, Chief Research Officer at ABI Research, told CDN.
Accepting this offer would just be the first step in completing this record-setting acquisition. According to the Financial Times, if accepted, it would undergo regulatory scrutiny in Europe as well as in the United States. It could also meet objections from NXP shareholders, who say that Qualcomm has been undervalued.