Qualcomm Agrees to Talk With Broadcom

The companies will meet on Wednesday even though Qualcomm has rejected its rival's improved $121 billion takeover offer as inadequate.
Matthew HellerFebruary 12, 2018

Broadcom’s pursuit of Qualcomm appears to be picking up some momentum, with the companies agreeing to meet for the first time on Wednesday and Broadcom enlisting more private-equity support for what is now a $121 billion takeover offer.

Qualcomm last week rejected the $82-per-share offer, saying in a letter to Broadcom that its board believes it “materially undervalues Qualcomm and falls well short of the firm regulatory commitment the board would demand given the significant downside risk of a failed transaction.”

But the board indicated it was prepared to meet with Broadcom CEO Hock Tan so he can explain how he would attempt to bridge the gaps in value, deal certainty and other issues. Citing people familiar with the matter, Reuters reported the rival chip makers plan to meet on Wednesday.

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“I am surprised that Qualcomm opened the door at all — maybe they felt they had no choice at this point,” Steven Re, president of Fairbanks Capital Management, a long-time owner of Qualcomm stock, told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“Shareholders should be angry if there is an $82 offer out there and it’s totally refused without even letting Hock Tan talk to them,” he added. In trading Monday, Qualcomm stock was up 2% at $65.29.

Broadcom on Feb. 5 turned up the pressure by boosting its offer to $82 per share from the $70 per share it had initially proposed in November. The merger would be the largest ever in technology, creating a semiconductor behemoth would trail only Intel and Samsung in revenue.

“Any responsible board would make it a top priority to negotiate a merger agreement with us,” Tan told CNBC.

Broadcom said Monday it has secured as much as $100 billion of debt financing from about a dozen banks for its bid and private-equity firms KKR and CVC Capital Partners have agreed to join Silver Lake in providing $6 billion in convertible debt for the deal and post-closing working-capital needs.

“Locking down funding for the deal would remove a major question mark over Broadcom’s bid for Qualcomm,” The Wall Street Journal said.