Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Broadcom to stay on deal path after Qualcomm halt: analysts

By Supantha Mukherjee and Sonam Rai

(Reuters) – Broadcom Ltd’s <AVGO.O> Chief Executive Hock Tan is unlikely to put the brakes on his acquisition spree after the microchip maker’s $117 billion bid for Qualcomm Inc <QCOM.O> was blocked by U.S. President Donald Trump on national security grounds, analysts said on Tuesday.

Trump signed an order late on Monday to halt what would have been the biggest-ever technology deal due to concerns that a merger would give China the upper hand in mobile communications.

Shares of Broadcom, which is effectively barred from continuing its hostile pursuit of Qualcomm, rose nearly 3 percent in morning trading. Qualcomm shares fell 3.5 percent.

Broadcom CEO Tan is a serial acquirer who has turned Avago, the small chipmaker he was running with a market value of just $3.5 billion in 2009, into a giant worth more than $100 billion.

Tan bought Broadcom for $37 billion in a leveraged deal in 2015 and followed it up with a $5.5 billion deal to acquire Brocade Communications two years later.

Most analysts assume Broadcom will walk away from the Qualcomm deal and some identified San Jose-based Xilinx Inc <XLNX.O> and Israel’s Mellanox Technologies Ltd <MLNX.O> as its likely next targets.

Broadcom could not be immediately reached for comment.

While a Qualcomm deal would have made Broadcom the dominant supplier of chips used in smartphones and brought the company to the forefront of developing technology for the next generation of mobile network technology known as 5G, it can still make a string of smaller deals to build heft.

“We believe Broadcom’s options start with a continuation of broadly scoped communications-focused M&A,” B. Riley analyst Craig Ellis said. “Broadcom covets high-margin, technology-rich moderate growth businesses with complementary end market and customer exposure.”

Two analysts said Xilinx and Mellanox would be a good fit for Broadcom, though not as a transformational level like Qualcomm. Xilinx makes chips used for wireless communication and Mellanox’s products connect servers and storage systems, complementing Broadcom’s broad portfolio.

Xilinx has a market value of $20 billion and Mellanox just under $4 billion.

Neither company was immediately available for comment.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which raised concerns about the Qualcomm deal, listed the highly leveraged nature of Broadcom’s bid for its larger rival as a major concern and a risk to Qualcomm’s leadership on mobile technology.

For smaller deals, Broadcom has a lot of firepower: about $11 billion in cash and the potential to generate nearly $9 billion per year in free cash flow, according to analysts’ estimates.

(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee and Sonam Rai in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham and Bill Rigby)

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