Last week, Broadcom made an unsolicited offer to buy Qualcomm, one of the biggest SoC and cellular modem manufacturers for smartphones. Qualcomm officially rejected the initial bid today, which was for $105 billion (it was originally reported to be around $130 billion). When reports first surfaced about the offer, it was known that Qualcomm wasn't happy with the deal. In a statement released today, Qualcomm's board say the offer "significantly undervalues" the company.
"No company is better positioned in mobile, IoT, automotive, edge computing and networking within the semiconductor industry," Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said in the statement. "We are confident in our ability to create significant additional value for our stockholders as we continue our growth in these attractive segments and lead the transition to 5G."
Broadcom "remains fully committed" to the acquisition and said in its own statement that combining the two companies would create "a strong, global company with an impressive portfolio of industry-leading technologies and products." This could lead to a higher bid from Broadcom in the future, but there's no word on when Broadcom might make another offer. The deal could hinge on Qualcomm resolving a conflict with Apple, which has grown over the past year. Most Android smartphone manufacturers choose Qualcomm SoCs and cellular modems to save space and power thanks to the company's one-chip solution. Samsung and Apple are the only two smartphone OEMs who have a choice to not use Qualcomm technology because they both make their own chips.
Apple recently put an Intel modem in some of the new iPhone models, and that immediately angered Qualcomm. The company demanded royalties for the Intel modems, so Apple sued Qualcomm as a result. After some back-and-forth and Qualcomm reportedly withholding software needed to test its chips in iPhones, Apple may be looking to cut Qualcomm out of the iPhone equation entirely.
Resolving its issues with Apple would strengthen Qualcomm's position, but it seems unlikely that nearly a year's worth of conflict would be fixed in time for any deal to go through. Qualcomm could also bolster its standing by completing its acquisition of NXP Semiconductor, another chipmaker. The $39 billion deal was originally expected to close by the end of 2017, but now it may not close until early 2018.