Intel is considering a bid for Broadcom as part of a range of acquisition alternatives in reaction to the Singapore-based chip maker’s bid for US rival Qualcomm, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Intel, the world’s second largest semiconductor maker, is keeping a close eye on the US$117bn takeover battle and is eager for Broadcom to fail, because the combined company would pose a competitive threat, the Journal reported. If Broadcom seems set to prevail, Intel could step in with its own offer, the newspaper reported. Intel has been considering such a move since late last year and is working with advisers, according to the Journal.
While Intel isn’t ruling out an eventual approach to Broadcom, there are no takeover discussions under way, and that outcome isn’t the most likely one, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations.
Broadcom shares jumped as much as 8.3% to $275 in extended trading in New York. The report cautioned it’s far from guaranteed that Intel would make an offer and that it could pursue smaller acquisitions instead.
Broadcom currently has a market value of about $104bn. Its offer for Qualcomm has been met with resistance, not only from Qualcomm executives but also from the US government, which has initiated a review on national security concerns. Last week, the US treasury department ordered a 30-day postponement to Qualcomm’s shareholder meeting, which was supposed to hold a vote on a slate of Broadcom board nominees. Early indications showed that Qualcomm was on course to lose majority control of its board to Broadcom, according to information obtained by Bloomberg.
While a new vote has been scheduled for 5 April, a review by the committee on foreign investment in the US is likely to take longer. Broadcom is pressing ahead, vowing to cooperate with the US review and pledging to boost investment in US wireless technology to offset concerns that it would slash spending and allow foreign companies to steal the lead in the next generation of mobile technology.
Representatives of Broadcom didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. An Intel spokeswoman declined to comment on merger prospects but said the company’s priority is integrating existing acquisitions. “We have made important acquisitions over the past 30 months — including Mobileye and Altera — and our focus is on integrating those acquisitions and making them successful for our customers and shareholders,” Intel said.
The company said last year it’s buying Israeli self-driving car technology maker Mobileye for about $15bn. That followed the similarly sized purchase of programmable chip maker Altera in 2015.
Broadcom is a leader in the chips that control Bluetooth connectivity and link mobile phones and other devices to Wi-Fi networks. Intel could use the transaction to gain a beachhead in wireless handsets — an area it has so far struggled to penetrate.
“It makes sense after Intel acquired Altera; they have a road map in the networking space and buying Broadcom would give Intel broader exposure to the networking world,” said Jun Zhang, an analyst at Rosenblatt.
A combined Broadcom and Intel would leave customers such as Apple purchasing more components from a single source. Apple, locked in a legal dispute with Qualcomm over licensing fees, has been working to strip Qualcomm chips from future devices.
Intel receives just over 5% of its sales from Apple, compared with about 7% for Broadcom.
Broadcom also supplies wireless chips for devices from Samsung Electronics, ZTE, LG Electronics, Huawei Technologies and Cisco. — Reported by Molly Schuetz, Ian King and Mark Gurman, (c) 2018 Bloomberg LP