Broadcom moves past its ambitions to buy Qualcomm, to look for smaller acquisitions


Broadcom Ltd on 15 March said that it was likely to pursue smaller acquisitions of chipmakers after its failed >hostile takeover bid to acquire rival Qualcomm Inc and said that its smartphone chip business would see a drop in demand this quarter from a North American customer and an increase from South Korea.

Chipset making company Broadcom . Reuters.

Chipset making company Broadcom . Reuters.

Most analysts believe that the North American customer is Apple Inc, which made up a fifth of Broadcom revenue 2017, and the Korean customer is Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, which is ramping up production of its recently announced Galaxy S9 smart phone.

Broadcom results beat expectations days after US President Donald Trump blocked its $117 billion hostile bid for Qualcomm on national security concerns. The company scrapped the offer on 14 March.

Singapore-based Broadcom, however, said it would continue with its plans to redomicile to the United States, fuelling expectations that the company would likely scout for smaller targets.

"Qualcomm was clearly a unique and very large acquisition opportunity," Chief Financial Officer Tom Krause told investors on a conference call. "Given the maturity of the industry, the consolidation it is seeing and our relative size now, our future acquisitions are much more likely to be funded with cash available on our balance sheet and without the need to flex the balance sheet."

Broadcom's shares were down 1.2 percent at $264.50 in extended trading on 15 March.

"Typically, Broadcom has to make acquisitions to drive the earnings," said Summit Insight Group analyst Kinngai Chan. "If the company is able to make two or three medium-size acquisitions, then I think the stock will move up again."

But Broadcom officials were still publicly smarting over the loss of the Qualcomm deal. Krause said he was "touched" by an Institutional Shareholder Services report 14 March encouraging Qualcomm shareholders to cast protest ballots for Broadcom's director nominees.

Krause said Broadcom believes that "based on the vote tally as of today, the 11 Qualcomm nominees are only garnering between 15 percent to 16 percent of the outstanding shares, not necessarily something to celebrate on San Diego." Qualcomm declined to comment on Krause's comments.

Broadcom, whose WiFi chips are found in Apple Inc's iPhone and most Android phones, was eyeing Qualcomm's core baseband chips and license business that would significantly benefit from the rollout of 5G wireless technology.

Broadcom said first-quarter smart phone results were driven by an increase in orders from a "North American smartphone customer," which most analysts believe is Apple Inc, which released its flagship iPhone X later than normal 2017, pushing production into the early part of 2018.

CEO Hock Tan said that customer's business was expected to "trend down sharply" in the second quarter, partially offset at Broadcom by more business for a "next-generation flagship [phone] from a large Korean smartphone customer."

Net income attributable to ordinary shares surged to $6.23 billion, or $14.62 per share, in the first quarter ended on 4 February, from $239 million, or 57 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company, which announced a quarterly interim dividend of $1.75 per share, said it recorded a gain of $5.79 billion due to the recently enacted U.S. tax law.

Excluding items, the company earned $5.12 per share.

Net revenue rose to $5.33 billion from $4.14 billion.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $5.05 per share and revenue of $5.32 billion.

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