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Chips


Broadcom Ltd. (NASDAQ:AVGOC) just made a $105 billion takeover bid for Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOMC), an unsolicited move that marks the chip industry’s biggest potential takeover ever. The bid comes at a time when the world is becoming more and more populated with chip-driven devices.

While a Broadcom/Qualcomm merger would be an obvious game-changer in the chip industry the deal is far from certain.

Related: WHY M&A DEALS FAIL

An Unfriendly Bid

New research by the Cass Business School and IntraLinks, which analyzed 78,565 potential M&A transactions over the past 25 years, indicated that hostile takeovers are less likely than friendly mergers to be successful.

Qualcomm said it would consider the proposal, but is expected to reject the offer on grounds the price isn’t high enough. In addition, there is significant risk of regulatory blocking and the sheer size of the merger and the target (Qualcomm) makes success even less likely.

Future Technology At Stake

If the deal were to go through, Broadcom would inherit Qualcomm’s research into 5G cellular technology, the next wave in the industry. This technology is expected to accelerate the speed and responsiveness of cellular, especially for application in self-driving cars.

One analyst, Patrick Moorhead of Moor Insights & Strategy, told the Wall Street Journal, “People will continue to use short-proximity wireless like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but the growth and money is clearly in 5G.”

Championing Qualcomm

While the Broadcom/Qualcomm deal has supporters, others are concerned that a Broadcom takeover would be a disaster for Qualcomm’s unique innovation in the industry. Describing Qualcomm as an “admirably geeky” organization, PC Magazine worries that Broadcom would kill off the innovation.

In fact, the magazine says, Qualcomm’s battles with major customers like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPLC) over license fees has left it vulnerable to takeover bids like that proffered by Broadcom. Bloomberg notes that Qualcomm is in "a rare moment of weakness." There is, however, a sense that the company can overcome its troubles if left alone.

Related: SECTOR INVESTING

Jim Cramer Weighs In

Meanwhile, CNBC's Jim Cramer said, "[The deal] has sent shock waves through the whole tech sector." Cramer added, "The thing about technology is that many skeptics just don't understand how the industry has gotten so much bigger, which means these companies are a lot more valuable to each other than you might think."

According to Cramer, the "bombshell" factor is the fact the bid is hostile, something that is unusual for the tech space. He does see the chances of the deal going through as slim. Cramer blamed the squabble between Qualcomm and Apple and the fact that fight has depressed stock prices for Qualcomm. According to Cramer, Qualcomm’s board of directors believe share price would be higher if it wasn’t for the fight with Apple and they don’t want to sell the company cheap.



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