Qualcomm Inc.’s board of directors unanimously rejected Broadcom Ltd.’s offer to buy the company for $70 per share, saying on Nov. 13 that Broadcom’s offer “dramatically undervalues” the company.
Broadcom (Nasdaq: AVGO), for its part, is not going away. The business said it “remains fully committed to pursuing its acquisition” for an estimated $105 billion.
The stage may be set for Broadcom to nominate its own slate of directors for the Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) board at the company’s annual meeting in March. Broadcom must work quickly. Nominations are due Dec. 8.
What now? Is the deal essentially done? Here are a few questions about Broadcom’s bid, which the chipmaker publicly announced on Nov. 6, and some thoughts from analysts:
Q: What happens next?
A: Expect Broadcom to increase its offer and eventually nominate directors to Qualcomm’s board, said Michael Walkley of Canaccord Genuity.
“Broadcom will likely make an incremental increase in price to buy time while it seeks to replace the board members up for re-election. I would also imagine a bit of PR maneuvering.” said Jim McGregor, principal analyst with Tirias Research.
“QCOM shareholders will have to decide,” wrote Amit Daryanani of RBC Capital Markets. “Can QCOM management, which has overseen severe underperformance and been unable to resolve key disputes, turn the ship; or should shareholders put faith in Hock and take the exit?” The references are to Broadcom CEO Hock Tan, who is leading the acquisition effort. The disputes include a legal fight with Apple Inc., which says it is paying too much in royalties for Qualcomm’s patented technology, as well as skirmishes with regulators in many markets who say Qualcomm is exhibiting anticompetitive behavior.
Q: Is this deal inevitable?
A: “No!” said McGregor. “From my analysis, there is a higher likelihood that the deal will be completed, but it will take some divestitures to appease regulatory bodies, a higher price, and some strong-arming to get approval from Qualcomm’s board. To counter it, Qualcomm needs to muddy the waters, possibly look for other acquisitions beyond NXP, and push for some political backing from Congress to block the deal.”
The reference is to Qualcomm’s proposed acquisition of NXP Semiconductors N.V., which would put Qualcomm more squarely into the automotive chip space. Qualcomm has yet to get all regulatory approvals, and the deal might slip to 2018. Broadcom says its $70 offer applies whether the NXP deal goes through or not.