The companies are “in advanced talks,” as the WSJ put it, and CNBC later reported that Avago’s board is due to meet tonight.
It would be a monster of a deal. Broadcom’s market capitalization is $34.2 billion as of Wednesday afternoon — not a lot smaller, percentage wise, than Avago’s $36.3 billion. (Of course, 24 hours ago, Broadcom was worth about 21 percent less.)
For those of us who followed Broadcom since its early days, the deal is difficult to grasp. To be blunt, there was a great deal of ego packed into Broadcom in the late 90s, when Henry Nicholas was CEO. It’s hard to picture that company agreeing to be acquired by anybody.
But times change, of course. Nicholas departed long ago, and Scott McGregor has been CEO for more than a decade. (Nicholas’ co-founder, Henry Samueli, remains chairman and CTO.) And a cycle of big-name consolidation seems to be underway, with Avago apparently in a buying mood.
Two weeks ago, Avago was rumored to be on the hunt for a sizable acquisition. Longtime Silicon Valley firms Xilinx and Maxim were on the list alongside microcontroller giant Renaesas. Avago also tried to acquire embedded-processor vendor Freescale, but balked at the price, according to Reuters. Freescale was eventually bought by NXP Semiconductor for $16.7 billion.
Avago was born in 2005 when private equity firms Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Silver Lake Partners purchased the semiconductor and optical-transceiver businesses of Agilent. Avago went public in 2009; its recent acquisitions have included last year’s $6.6 billion purchase of LSI and the $606 million deal for Emulex earlier this year.
Broadcom’s shares ended Wednesday up $10.09 at $57.15. Avago stock was up $10.19 (8%) at $141.49.
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