Wed, May 27, 5:35 PM
Wed, May 27, 2:26 PM
- The WSJ reports Broadcom (BRCM +16.6%) is "in advanced talks to be bought" by Avago (AVGO +6.4%). Shares of both companies have shot higher.
- A deal would effectively be a merger rather than an acquisition: Avago is currently worth $35.1B, and Broadcom $32B. The post-merger company would have a massive product line spanning a variety of mobile, networking, home electronics, and telecom equipment chip markets.
- Avago has bought a string of companies over the last 18 months amid a massive chip industry consolidation wave, and has been rumored to be eying several others.
- Update (3:37PM ET): Bloomberg is backing up the WSJ's report, while adding a deal could be announced as soon as tomorrow.
- Update 2 (3:50PM): CNBC reports Avago's board plans to vote on the deal tonight.
Fri, May 22, 12:51 PM
- As part of a broader chip stock coverage launch, Mizuho's Vijay Rakesh has assigned Buy ratings to Micron (MU +2.2%), Avago (AVGO +1.8%), and Synaptics (SYNA +2.6%). His targets are respectively $39, $150, and $115.
- Like other bulls, Rakesh sees Micron's PC DRAM sales (recently under pressure) improving in 2H15, aided by the launch of Windows 10 and Intel's 14nm Skylake CPU platform. He also downplays concerns about Micron's 20nm DRAM transition, thinks tri-level cell (TLC) and 3D NAND ramps will drive NAND gross margin improvement, and likes the hiring of Ernie Maddock as CFO.
- Rakesh forecasts Avago will continue benefiting from strong FBAR filter sales (boosted by 4G phone growth), growing smartphone dollar content, and the Chinese 4G ramp (aided by recent carrier tariff cuts). "AVGO is completely booked on its FBAR filter capacity through 2015 and the ramp of its industry leading 8-inch FBAR wafer capacity will likely lead to significant operational efficiencies versus its peers"
- He also notes Cisco is seeing strong sales for its ASR 9000 edge router line, which Avago has exposure to, and expects the Emulex deal to boost margins and EPS.
- TDDI (integrated touch/display driver) ICs, fingerprint sensor sales, and Chinese 4G demand are expected to act as tailwinds for Synaptics. Rakesh forecasts the company will produce FY16 (ends June '16) free cash flow of $304M, and thinks this could pave the way for buybacks.
- Synaptics has made fresh highs, and Avago is within $5 of a high of $136.28. Micron remains 25% below a high of $36.59.
Mon, May 18, 2:10 PM
- Many chip stocks are turning in healthy gains amid a 0.7% gain for the Nasdaq after the NY Post reported Altera (up 6.2%) has resumed buyout talks with Intel.
- Also possibly helping: China's big-3 carriers have announced major data tariff cuts. Brean has argued the cuts are a positive for RF chipmakers Skyworks (SWKS +5.7%), Qorvo (QRVO +4.2%), and Avago (AVGO +1.9%); the companies benefit from rising 4G phone sales.
- Aside from the aforementioned companies, today's gainers include Synaptics (SYNA +4.8%), Himax (HIMX +2.3%), and Silicon Motion (SIMO +2.3%), each of whom also has Chinese mobile exposure. Other winners include Atmel (ATML +3.7%), Microsemi (MSCC +2.6%), InPhi (IPHI +2%), Intersil (ISIL +2.5%), Silicon Labs (SLAB +2.5%), IDT (IDTI +2.3%), and MaxLinear (MXL +3.5%).
- Chip ETFs: SOXX, SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
Mon, May 18, 12:35 PM
- Xilinx (XLNX +1.3%) is higher after the NY Post reported Intel and Xilinx FPGA archrival Altera have resumed buyout talks. Shares jumped in March after the first Intel/Altera report arrived.
- Last week, Reuters reported Avago (AVGO +1.3%) has reached out to Xilinx, analog/mixed-signal chipmaker Maxim (MXIM +0.6%), and Japanese microcontroller/analog chipmaker Renesas (OTCPK:RNECF) about potential deals. Sources also state Avago has talked with P-E firm Silver Lake about partnering on a deal.
- Avago has acquired LSI, PLX Technology, and Emulex over the last 2 years, and was previously reported to have bid for Freescale before the company agreed to merge with NXP. The company is one of many chipmakers taking part in a consolidation wave driven by both cost and product synergies.
Thu, May 7, 11:13 AM
- Just as Qorvo (QRVO +9%) and Avago (AVGO +5.1%) rallied in response to Skyworks' (SWKS +2.1%) beat-and-raise FQ2 report last week, Skyworks and Avago are rallying today after Qorvo beat FQ4 estimates with the help of strong iPhone 6-related sales, and offered above-consensus FQ1 guidance.
- Needham's Quinn Bolton has upgraded Qorvo to Buy, and set an $88 target. Bolton: "Management expects continued robust revenue growth in C2H15 as it has high visibility into the major Tier 1 OEM platform launches later this year. Additionally, QRVO expects continued 4G adoption in the emerging markets to drive strong growth in F1Q16 and C2H15, echoing recent peer commentary."
- He also notes Qorvo now expects to exceed prior RF Micro/TriQuint merger synergy targets, and that its 2H15 gross margin and op. margin could respectively top targets of 50% and 30%. "We believe QRVO's valuation multiple has yet to reflect the greater than expected synergies, revenue growth and operating leverage."
- Qorvo is now aiming for more than $150M/year in synergies by the end of 2016. Major FQ4 design wins included a diversity switch module for a flagship Android phone set to launch in 2H15, and power amplifier wins for major base station and an 802.11ac Wi-Fi chipset. The company asserts the merger is helping it develop integrated RF front-end solutions combining amplifiers, filters, and diversity modules.
Fri, May 1, 12:12 PM
- A slew of firms have hiked their Skyworks (SWKS +6%) targets after the company beat FQ2 estimates with the help of strong iPhone 6/Galaxy S6-related demand, and (in contrast to many chip industry peers) provided above-consensus FQ3 guidance. Peers Qorvo (QRVO +4.5%) and Avago (AVGO +4.1%) are following Skyworks higher.
- Pac Crest's John Vinh ($110 target): "SWKS confirmed that its SkyOne Ultra front-end module has been designed into Samsung’s GS6. We believe the company’s content increased by $1 in the GS6 vs. the GS5 ... we believe this helped more than offset weakness in the China smartphone market, which was down in CQ1. SWKS still sees a strong ramp of 4G smartphones in China and estimates units growing from 100 million in 2014 to the range of 225 million to 250 million in 2015."
- Raymond James' Steven Smigle ($117 target) notes the SkyOne Mini 2G/3G/4G front-end module line (aimed at cheaper phones) has a number of Chinese design wins, and expects Chinese phone demand to rebound in 2H15. "Total sales for filters sound more bullish compared to last quarter with management believing they will exceed their goal of selling 1 billion TC-SAW filters in 2015 ... The Broad Markets segment also sounds positive with new design wins in various automotive and WiFi connectivity solutions."
- B. Riley's Craig Ellis ($120 target): "[N]ew integrated products such as diversity receive modules are poised to compliment the now-ramping SkyOne Ultra, Panasonic JV ops integration and optimization remains in early-innings, and the ability to price for value gets steadily better as the portfolio increasingly migrates to Integrated or Broad Market products which are now 69.0% of sales."
- Qorvo reports on May 6. Avago typically reports later in May.
Fri, Apr. 24, 2:03 PM
- Though the Nasdaq is up 0.7% thanks to market-pleasing earnings from Google, Microsoft, and Amazon, chip stocks (SOXX -2.1%) are adding to their Thursday losses after Freescale, Altera, Microsemi, and Maxim joined the ranks of chipmakers offering soft Q2 guidance; Texas Instruments, Xilinx, and Qualcomm did so on Wednesday afternoon.
- NXP (NXPI -4.3%), set to merge with Freescale in a cash/stock deal, is selling off ahead of its April 29 Q1 report. RF chipmakers Skyworks (SWKS -3.8%), Qorvo (QRVO -4.4%), and Avago (AVGO -5.2%) are also seeing steep declines.
- Other decliners include a slew of telecom/networking, microcontroller, and analog/mixed-signal chipmakers. The group includes Marvell (MRVL -3%), ON Semi (ON -6.9%), Atmel (ATML -3.3%), Cypress (CY -4%), Lattice (LSCC -3.9%), Semtech (SMTC -6.9%), Cavium (CAVM -6%), PMC-Sierra (PMCS -2.9%), InPhi (IPHI -3.8%), and Silicon Labs (SLAB -2.9%). Chip packaging/testing firm Amkor (AMKR -5.7%) is also off; its Q1 report arrives on Monday.
- As was the case with TI and Xilinx, soft telecom equipment chip demand was often blamed by those guiding light yesterday afternoon. Freescale (FSL -3.5%) stated it expects network processor division sales to be down Q/Q and RF (base station power amplifier) division sales to be flat. Microcontroller, automotive, and analog and sensor division sales are expected to rise.
- Altera (ALTR -3.3%) stated its "telecom and wireless business, and particularly our wireless business globally looks to be quite weak in [Q2], while the rest for our business will in aggregate be flat to slightly up." Regarding its Q1 miss, the company notes "Industrial, test, compute and storage, and to a lesser extent military, fell short of our forecast" (share loss to Xilinx?).
- Maxim reports seeing "broad-based softness in communications infrastructure demand" and soft industrial bookings to go with healthier mobile/auto demand. The Galaxy S6 appears to be giving a lift to Maxim's mobile sales.
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
Thu, Apr. 23, 12:20 PM
- While the Nasdaq is up 0.3%, chip stocks are selling off (SOXX -1.8%) after Texas Instruments, Xilinx, and Qualcomm all provided soft calendar Q2 guidance. TI and Xilinx also missed Q1 sales estimates, while Qualcomm beat.
- Decliners include Avago (AVGO -3.7%), Qorvo (QRVO -2.5%), Freescale (FSL -3%), STMicroelectronics (STM -3.6%), Atmel (ATML -2.3%), PMC-Sierra (PMCS -2.5%), Fairchild (FCS -2.2%), Cypress (CY -2.1%), Audience (ADNC -6.6%), IDT (IDTI -4.5%), Vishay (VSH -2.9%), AppliedMicro (AMCC -2.3%), and Cavium (CAVM -4.4%). NXP, ON Semi, Linear, Microchip, and Maxim remain lower after falling AH yesterday.
- With the decliners including many microcontroller, analog/mixed-signal, and telecom equipment chipmakers, TI (TXN -7.3%) might be the biggest culprit: The analog/DSP giant blamed soft telecom equipment and consumer electronics demand for its numbers, with particular weakness in mobile infrastructure (a 2014 strong point) and PCs; auto and industrial demand was healthier.
- On its CC (transcript), TI attributed the mobile weakness to delayed carrier capacity upgrades. This morning, mobile infrastructure giant Ericsson posted a Q1 miss blamed in part on weak North American 4G spending.
- Likewise, Xilinx (XLNX -1.3%), which has strong 4G infrastructure exposure, stated on its CC (transcript) wireless sales were weaker than expected due to "continued softness in North America and a weakening in China LTE business." Wired infrastructure sales were in-line, and other markets outperformed.
- Qualcomm largely blamed its guidance on the iPhone 6's share gains and a loss of chip share at Samsung, rather than industry demand issues. Altera, Freescale, Maxim, Microsemi, and Synaptics report after the close.
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
- 8 days ago: Chip stocks rally following Intel/Linear's earnings
Mon, Apr. 6, 11:02 AM
- Though Chipworks' teardown indicates Samsung replaced (Broadcom partner) Murata's Wi-Fi/Bluetooth modules in the Galaxy S6 with its own, Morgan Stanley thinks the module uses a Broadcom (BRCM +0.7%) combo chip. The firm notes a Wi-Fi module page on Samsung's site shows options for Broadcom and Qualcomm silicon.
- Between the expected combo chip win and a GPS/sensor hub chip win (uncovered by Chipworks), MS thinks Broadcom's S6 content share is above expectations. "We did not expect Broadcom to add sensor hub content to the GS6."
- The firm also sees Avago (AVGO +0.6%) as a winner, estimating its content share is rising to ~$5 from ~$2-$3 with the S5. The company's 4G amplifier/FBAR filter strengths are likely helping.
- Meanwhile, NXP (NXPI - unchanged) is seen holding onto NFC controller/secure element slots for Chinese S6 models. Chipworks' teardown revealed a Samsung NFC controller, while a Chinese teardown revealed a chip said to be an NXP NFC controller. NXP's PN547 controller was used in S5 models globally.
Fri, Apr. 3, 3:20 PM
- Whereas Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) had six chips designed into many Galaxy S5 models, a Chipworks teardown of Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy S6 didn't turn up a single Qualcomm part.
- In addition to eschewing the Snapdragon 810 app processor (widely reported, and hinted at by Qualcomm itself) in favor of its 8-core Exynos 7420, Samsung (possibly prioritizing margins over performance/battery life) replaced Qualcomm baseband modem, power management, RF transceiver, and envelope tracking chips with home-grown parts. As expected, Samsung is also using its own DRAM/NAND chips and image processor.
- Though Chipworks says it needs to confirm, the site believes Samsung is also using its own NFC controller. NXP (NASDAQ:NXPI) supplies the S5's NFC controller (as well as the iPhone 6's).
- Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) might also be a casualty of Samsung's attempts to buy local: Whereas the S5 contained a Wi-Fi module from Broadcom combo chip client Murata, Chipworks uncovered a Samsung Wi-Fi module - Samsung has already been using home-grown combo chips in cheaper phones. On the other hand, a Broadcom GPS/GNSS chip is included.
- A Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN) wireless power receiver handles wireless charging for the S6; many expected IDT (NASDAQ:IDTI), which supplies a transmitter chip for the S6's wireless charging pad, would score the design. Meanwhile, Cirrus Logic's (NASDAQ:CRUS) Wolfson unit supplies an audio codec IC, and Maxim (NASDAQ:MXIM) is providing an audio amplifier and complementary power management IC.
- Skyworks (NASDAQ:SWKS) and Avago (NASDAQ:AVGO) have won RF slots: The former provides a multi-mode/multi-band front-end module and antenna switch, and the latter two power amplifier modules. Both companies also had S5 design wins.
- Not surprisingly, InvenSense (NYSE:INVN) is providing a 6-axis gyroscope/accelerometer (the MPU-6500). As was rumored, STMicroelectronics (NYSE:STM) won the touch controller slot, beating out S5 supplier Synaptics.
- While Qualcomm lost out on the S6, the company has landed a number of other Snapdragon 810 design wins for high-end Android phones. The Snapdragon 820, which sports a next-gen ARM CPU core (Kryo) and Qualcomm's Zeroth neural networking tech, begins sampling in 2H15. 3D SoCs (said to enable a 50% shrink in die size) are expected to enter testing in 2016.
- The Chipworks teardown follows a long list of glowing reviews for the S6 - reviewers especially like the 2K display and Samsung's decision to go with a metal/glass body instead of the usual plastic - and reports of production hikes and strong pre-orders. Sales start on April 10.
- Update: A Chinese S6 teardown turned up a chip said to be an NXP NFC part; its name (the 66T05) is very different from the chips in NXP's announced NFC controller line. A Sprint RDF file indicates Sprint's version of the S6 features Qualcomm's MDM9635 modem. That suggests Samsung could use Qualcomm modems for phones requiring 3G EV-DO compatibility (those used by Sprint, Verizon, and a handful of overseas carriers).
Fri, Mar. 27, 4:54 PM
- After falling hard on Wednesday amid cautious remarks from TSMC (TSM -1.1%), and falling again (to a lesser extent) on Thursday in the wake of SanDisk's warning, chip stocks rallied during the final 30 minutes of trading (SOXX +2.8%) in response to a WSJ report stating Intel is in talks to buy FPGA vendor Altera. A deal would be among the biggest in the chip industry's non-stop consolidation wave, rivaled only by NXP/Freescale.
- In addition to Altera rivals Xilinx and Lattice (previously covered), chipmakers catching a bid included Avago (AVGO +2.8%), InvenSense (INVN +2.6%), Cirrus Logic (CRUS +2.5%), Synaptics (SYNA +1.9%), Analog Devices (ADI +2.5%), QuickLogic (QUIK +3.8%) (a smaller FPGA maker), and Fairchild (FCS +3.2%).
- InvenSense has occasionally been the subject of speculation Intel or Qualcomm could make a bid. Acquisition-hungry Avago, meanwhile, is reportedly on the hunt for new deals after bidding for Freescale.
- More than a few analysts have defended chip stocks following the TSMC remarks. Jefferies and Susquehanna have argued TSMC's issues are due to share loss to Samsung (partly for Apple/Qualcomm orders), and BMO notes Nvidia (a major TSMC client) recently disclosed adding Samsung as a foundry partner. It's a fan of Synaptics and Maxim (MXIM +2.2%) due to their Galaxy S6 exposure.
- BofA/Merrill reports seeing pockets of excess chip inventory (for PCs and emerging markets smartphones) during a Taiwanese trip, but thinks Apple and Samsung phone-related orders are healthy, as are auto, industrial, and data center chip demand.
- Credit Suisse: "Our cyclical and structural call on Semis remains unchanged – cycle-to-date has been well behaved, Semi rev to global GDP is poised to inflect higher and Semis relative valuation still attractive – growing top/bottom line faster than SPX, twice the margin profile, essentially same dividend yield trading at a two turn discount."
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
Fri, Mar. 27, 11:48 AM
- After falling 8.3% over the last two days thanks to a major chip stock selloff, Skyworks (NASDAQ:SWKS) is recovering some of its losses in the wake of a $15 Northland Securities target hike to $105. Northland's target was at $80 prior to Skyworks' Jan. 22 FQ1 beat.
- Meanwhile, Citi and Rosenblatt are dueling over near-term smartphone demand. Citi has respectively cut its 2015 and 2016 smartphone unit growth forecasts to 16% and 13% from 19% and 15.5% due to a belief Chinese/emerging markets demand is softer than expected. "We expect a challenging outlook for smartphone companies with high China exposure." With OEMs typically pricing phones in dollars, a strong dollar is seen hurting sales to "price-sensitive markets" in general.
- Rosenlatt, by contrast, says supply chain talks suggest little has changed. "We don’t believe that Taiwan Semi‘s and SanDisk’s forecast cuts are related to the overall smartphone industry ... We believe that Samsung is increasing [Chinese] production from 3 million per month in Q1 to 7-8 million per month in Q2. Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and MediaTek are also seeing strong orders from China."
- In addition to Qualcomm/MediaTek, Rosenblatt expects Skyworks, Avago (NASDAQ:AVGO), Synaptics (NASDAQ:SYNA), and Micron (NASDAQ:MU) to benefit from healthy Chinese demand. The firm argued back in December Skyworks and Micron would benefit.
Wed, Mar. 25, 12:03 PM
- Chip stocks are particularly hard-hit (SOXX -3.6%) on a rough day for tech. The Nasdaq is down 1.3%, and the S&P 0.7%. Going into today, good earnings reports and ongoing M&A activity had led the Philadelphia Semi Index to rise 10% from its Jan. 30 close; the index remains up nearly 2x from its fall 2012 lows.
- AMD (AMD -7.2%) is a major decliner following a UBS downgrade. AMD rival/GPU giant Nvidia (NVDA -5.2%) and memory giant Micron (MU -3.7%) are also selling off, as are merger partners NXP (NXPI -3.8%) and Freescale (FSL -3.4%), RF chipmakers Avago (AVGO -5.2%), Skyworks (SWKS -5.3%), and Qorvo (QRVO -7.1%), LED/RF chipmaker Cree (CREE -4.1%), and high-flying video processor developer Ambarella (AMBA -4.3%).
- Other decliners include telecom chipmakers/ARM server CPU vendors Cavium (CAVM -4.8%) and AppliedMicro (AMCC -4.4%), microcontroller vendors Atmel (ATML -3.5%), Cypress (CY -5.5%), and STMicroelectronics (STM -3.5%), voice processor developer Audience (ADNC -3.7%), analog/mixed-signal chipmakers Linear (LLTC -3.7%), Maxim (MXIM -3%), and Intersil (ISIL -3.5%), FPGA maker Lattice (LSCC -3.9%), and mixed-signal/wireless charging IC developer IDT (IDTI -5.4%).
- Chip equipment, IP, and foundry providers are also underperforming. Big decliners include ARM (ARMH -4.4%), KLA-Tencor (KLAC -4.2%), Lam Research (LRCX -5.4%), ASML (ASML -4.1%), TowerJazz (TSEM -4.3%), Mattson (MTSN -4.5%), Ultratech (UTEK -4.7%), and Tessera (TSRA -6.1%). ASML has been downgraded to Hold by Banco Santander.
- TSMC (TSM -4.6%) is among the decliners in spite of a Digitimes report stating the foundry giant's sales are expected to rise 0%-5% Q/Q in Q2 - consensus is for a 2% drop - with strong Apple A8 CPU orders offsetting soft Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 orders.
- Chip ETFs: SMH, XSD, PSI, SOXL, USD, SOXS, SSG
Mon, Mar. 23, 11:30 AM
- Believing the company's diversification efforts will pay off and that plenty of wireless growth remains, Citi's Atif Malik (Buy) has hiked his Avago (AVGO +0.8%) target to $160 following a talk with management. The target is equal to 17x Citi's 2016 EPS estimate.
- Malik sees Avago's wireless chip sales (up 90% Y/Y in the January quarter thanks to iPhone 6-related orders) rising 44% in 2015, aided not only by strong sales to Apple (~20% of Avago's revenue) but also an expected doubling of chip content in Samsung's Galaxy S6 (relative to the S5) to ~$5.
- With Avago set to double its FBAR filter production capacity by mid-2016, mid-teens wireless growth is expected for 2016. Avago's FBAR leadership position has contributed heavily to its mobile RF share gains, given 4G phones depend heavily on FBAR filters.
- Regarding Avago's ongoing M&A efforts, Malik thinks the company will now "look for gaining competencies in auto/industrial and IoT end markets." Those are two areas Freescale, which Avago reportedly considered buying before NXP swooped in, has healthy exposure to.
Thu, Mar. 19, 5:52 PM
- After rising 5.8% in regular trading today, specialty analog/mixed-signal chipmaker Microsemi (NASDAQ:MSCC) is up 8% since announcing yesterday morning (just before its analyst day) it's buying Ethernet chipmaker Vitesse (NASDAQ:VTSS) for $389M. Shares have made new highs along the way.
- Vitesse closed today $5.31, $0.03 above Microsemi's offer price. Ascendiant Capital's Cody Acree calls the offer "a bit low," and (given the deal is expected to be immediately accretive for Microsemi) thinks a rival bid might arrive. "Potential suitors could include Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) or Marvell (NASDAQ:MRVL), who are already leaders in Ethernet and would see natural synergies in VTSS’s portfolio or Avago (NASDAQ:AVGO) who has also been particularly acquisitive."
- Meanwhile, Stifel's Tore Svanberg has hiked his Microsemi target by $5 to $40 in response to the Vitesse deal and Microsemi's analyst day presentations (slides - .pdf). "[M]anagement reiterated its strategy to maximize profitability, grow its market share in core products, while expanding its [addressable market] through new product initiatives and deeper penetration into their existing customer base."
- Svanberg adds the Vitesse deal "helps expand [Microsemi's] silicon/dollar content initiatives, especially in the comms infrastructure space and adds differentiated technology with high barriers to entry." He sees the purchase making Microsemi's goal of achieving a 60% gross margin and 30% op. margin in 2016 (compares with 56.2% and 24.4% in calendar Q4) easier to attain.
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