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Broadcom has been interested in acquiring Qualcomm for more than a year

Mike Freeman, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Business News

SAN DIEGO -- Broadcom's interest in acquiring Qualcomm apparently wasn't solely triggered by the San Diego company's lagging stock price this year.

Broadcom CEO Hock Tan brought up combining the two companies with Qualcomm in August 2016, when Qualcomm's shares traded at significantly higher prices.

That's according to a letter that Tan sent to Qualcomm's board of directors Monday making his $103 billion buyout offer.

"As you know from prior discussions between our two companies, Broadcom has been interested for some time in combining Qualcomm's mobile business with the Broadcom platform," Tan wrote to Qualcomm's board. "We continue to believe that such a combination will deliver substantial benefits to our respective stockholders, employees, customers and other stakeholders."

Qualcomm is evaluating the offer and declined to comment. Broadcom was unavailable for comment.

It's uncertain whether Broadcom can pull off such a large, complex acquisition. Qualcomm likely will deem this initial offer as too low, analysts say. Broadcom said it believes the transaction would be completed within 12 months if the companies can come to an agreement.

The deal could create a semiconductor colossus with $51 billion in annual revenue and $22 billion in profit after cost cuts and Qualcomm's pending acquisition of NXP Semiconductors.

Broadcom's bid had been seen by analysts as an offensive move that takes advantage of Qualcomm's lagging stock price, which was down 18 percent over the trailing 12 months before Broadcom's takeover offer.

"We aren't sure Qualcomm's management team would be so eager to sell, but we suspect investors would be significantly more pliable," Stacy Rasgon, an analyst with Bernstein Research, said in a written report.

Qualcomm's shares have been weighed down by its nasty legal battle with Apple over patent royalties, fines from antitrust regulators and slow progress on its planned $38 billion acquisition of NXP.

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