Qualcomm's shares remain red hot a week after Apple settlement

Mike Freeman, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in Business News

Qualcomm's stock continued to rally following its surprise settlement with Apple last week, gaining nearly 6 percent in trading on Tuesday.

The San Diego cellular technology supplier got a boost from a price upgrade from Morgan Stanley analyst James Faucette, who raised his price target for the shares to $95.

That's higher than many other analysts, even those who have been bullish on Qualcomm's stock over the past couple of years.

Qualcomm's shares ended trading Tuesday at $86.72 on the Nasdaq Exchange. The company's market value surged to $105 billion -- compared with a market capitalization of less than $70 billion prior to the deal with Apple.

Qualcomm's shares have not traded above this level, adjusted for stocks splits, since reaching an adjusted $89 per share price during the dot-com frenzy of 1999.

A year ago, the stock slumped to the $48 range.

Qualcomm's share price has been dragged down over the past five years by regulatory investigations in China and elsewhere, an unsuccessful hostile takeover attempt by chip rival Broadcom, the failed acquisition of NXP Semiconductors and the bloody legal war with Apple.

On April 16, Apple and Qualcomm settled their two year dispute as both side wrapped up opening statements in a San Diego federal jury trial.

The deal includes a six-year patent license agreement between the two companies with a possible extension, a one-time payment from Apple to Qualcomm, a chip supply agreement and other provision.

The settlement is expected to add about $2 per share to Qualcomm's adjusted earnings once chip shipments ramp up, likely next year.


For Apple, the deal gives it a path to deliver a 5G iPhone in 2020 using Qualcomm's chips. There was increasing uncertainty about whether Intel, which is currently supplying cellular modems to 4G iPhones, would have a 5G chip ready in time for a 2020 release.

In the week since the Apple settlement, Qualcomm's shares have posted a 51 percent price increase.

"With the Apple settlement not only increasing earnings substantially, but also expanding the freedom with which Qualcomm can pursue new opportunities, we expect that the stock will ultimately trade at least in-line with its semiconductor peers and our $95 price target," said Faucette in a note to clients.

"Adding meaningful growth in other markets, like auto, can accelerate earnings per share growth and provide additional tailwind for further multiple expansion, which would make landing at our $120 bull case value a reality."

Apple's shares also have gained since the settlement, rising 4 percent for the week to close Tuesday at $207.48 on the Nasdaq.

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