Former Qualcomm Chairman of the Board Paul Jacobs is assembling a group of buyers to take Qualcomm private within the next two months, according to two news outlets.
During all the hullabaloo in March when Broadcom was attempting a hostile takeover of Qualcomm, Jacobs was ousted from Qualcomm’s board of directors. Ultimately, President Trump killed Broadcom’s takeover aspirations.
But Jacobs is not happy having been removed from Qualcomm, a company his father Irwin Jacobs co-founded. And he has been exploring the possibility of buying the company. In March, Qualcomm announced that Jacobs would not be re-nominated to the Qualcomm board, indicating that it was “focused on executing its business plan and maximizing value for shareholders.”
Now, Jacobs is putting together a group of buyers to take the company private, reports CNBC. He’s talking to strategic investors and sovereign wealth funds, according to un-named sources. And he rates his chances of taking control of Qualcomm at better than 50 percent, reports Bloomberg.
Jacobs will need to raise a lot of money, given the fact that Broadcom’s final offer for Qualcomm was $117 billion. And Qualcomm rejected the offer, saying it undervalued the company.
It’s possible that ARM may be one of the potential investors. Qualcomm and ARM have worked together for years. ARM creates instruction sets for chips. And its customers — such as Qualcomm, Broadcom, NXP, and Cavium — use these instruction sets to manufacture chips. Qualcomm makes ARM-based chips for mobile devices and also for Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
A spokesperson for ARM denied to CNBC that the company is talking with Jacobs about an acquisition of Qualcomm.
One sticking point for ARM to invest in Qualcomm could be the fact that ARM was purchased by SoftBank in 2016, and SoftBank is a Japanese company. In addition, SoftBank runs its multi-billion-dollar technology-focused Vision Fund along with a government agency in Saudi Arabia.
Concern about foreign ownership of Qualcomm was the reason Trump killed Broadcom’s acquisition attempt. Apparently, Jacobs is very cognizant of this. CNBC said he has been working with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to ward off the kinds of problems that ultimately sank Broadcom’s ambitions.
If Jacobs is successful in taking Qualcomm private, he would run the company himself. He served as Qualcomm’s CEO from 2005 until 2014 when the current CEO Steve Mollenkopf took over.
CNBC’s sources said one of the reasons Jacob wants to take the company private is because his plans for Qualcomm would require significant investment in things that shareholders will probably not agree with. Potentially, this could include more research and development in 5G.
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