Thu, Apr. 9, 9:52 AM
- CNBC's David Faber has reported Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) has ended talks to acquire FPGA vendor Altera due to a failure to agree on price. That has fueled speculation Intel will make a bid for Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM), which competes with Intel in several telecom/networking chip markets and complements the chip giant's offerings in many others.
- Also possibly helping Broadcom: Ladenburg Thalmann has launched coverage with a Buy rating and $51 target.
- With a current $26.3B market cap - a buyout price would likely have to be over $30B - Broadcom would be a big fish to swallow. Q1 results arrive on April 21.
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).
Wed, Apr. 1, 6:49 PM
- Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) asserts its new BCM58100 microcontrollers (MCUs) are the first secure MCUs to have built-in NFC radios. The chips, which have begun sampling, are aimed at mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) terminals, PCs, home automation devices, security systems, and other products that could interact with NFC-capable smartphones/tablets.
- Broadcom also claims the chips deliver "unmatched performance" and (through a proprietary tamper protection/encryption architecture called BroadSAFE) superior security.
- The chips take aim at NXP (NASDAQ:NXPI), a top player in both the secure microcontroller and NFC chip markets. Thanks to strong Apple NFC chip orders, NXP saw an 81% Y/Y increase in Secure Connected Devices segment sales in Q4 to $349M. The company launched new secure microcontrollers in February.
- Broadcom and NXP also compete in the smartphone/tablet NFC chip market.
Wed, Apr. 1, 1:24 AM
- "The iPhone 6 (NASDAQ:AAPL) Has Met Its Match," reads the headline for the WSJ's review of Samsung's (OTC:SSNLF) Galaxy S6.
- Reviewer/iPhone 6 owner Joanna Stern: "Like a child who just found out that Santa isn’t real, I have spent the past week questioning everything I know." She's a fan of the S6's glass/metal body with dual Gorilla Glass 4 (NYSE:GLW) panes, as well as its 2K OLED display, improved fingerprint sensor, rapid charging support, and 16MP OIS-capable camera. "The Galaxy S6 destroys HTC’s new One M9 and other flagship Android phones ... on photo quality."
- The Verge's Dieter Bohn gives the S6 8.8/10 stars. "Samsung finally copied the right thing: caring about design." Bohn declares the S6 to have "one of the finest screens I have ever seen on a phone," thanks to a 577 PPI pixel density and improved color awareness. He also calls the device (powered by an 8-core Exynos CPU) "probably the fastest Android phone I’ve ever used."
- BGR's Zach Epstein: "Samsung’s Galaxy S6 features a stunning design that manages to be sleek and elegant, yet modern ... Samsung has raised the bar when it comes to smartphone screens ... Samsung finally stopped obsessing about increasing its [camera] megapixel counts and instead focused on improving its optics, design and software performance ... I’ve never used a phone that charged from empty to full as quickly as this one."
- Samsung's software, though declared to be improved from the S5's (less bloatware, and what remains is often buried), still gets some criticism. Epstein reports seeing a lag with some UI features, and Stern is critical of Samsung's icons and keyboard. Also: Reviewers generally see little reason to pay an extra $100 for the curved S6 Edge, and some Android users might not like the S6's lack of a removable battery or microSD slot.
- Ahead of the reviews, there have been reports Samsung has upped S6 production due to strong early interest. The phone goes on sale on April 10.
- Other reviews: TechCrunch, CNET, Re/code, TechRadar
- Expected S6 suppliers: BRCM, INVN, OLED, SYNA, MXIM, IDTI
- A month ago: Samsung launches metal/glass S6 with Gorilla Glass 4, 2K display, new fingerprint sensor
Mon, Mar. 30, 12:44 PM
- "We've wanted to upgrade Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) since the company's analyst meeting in Dec, but have been waiting for a pullback and a catalyst. We believe we got both last week," says Nomura's Romit Shah, upgrading the chipmaker to Buy and hiking his target by $10 to $50.
- Shah: "Broadcom remains very cheap, per our estimation, trading at 15x free cash flow (minus stock comp), versus a comp average of 18x. The discount reflects distrust in management after one bad acquisition and failed attempts in baseband." He thinks management isn't getting enough credit for recent moves to cut stock compensation spend (often criticized), boost capital returns, and increase financial transparency.
- Shares have gradually moved higher amid a 1% gain for the Nasdaq. They're within $2.50 of a 52-week high of $46.31. They moved higher during the final minutes of trading on Friday following reports Intel is in talks to acquire FPGA vendor Altera.
- Nomura downgraded Broadcom to Neutral last May, when shares were at $30.56.
Wed, Mar. 25, 3:57 PM
- With the Nasdaq down 2.3%, only a handful of tech companies are posting 2%+ gains. Meanwhile, the ranks of those posting 4%+ losses are considerable.
- Notable decliners include telecom/networking chipmakers Broadcom (BRCM -5.3%) and PMC-Sierra (PMCS -4.4%), chip equipment giant Applied Materials (AMAT -5.5%), optical component vendor Finisar (FNSR -6.7%), smart grid hardware/software vendor Silver Spring (SSNI -7.9%), Chinese app developer Cheetah Mobile (CMCM -4.4%), cable infrastructure/set-top vendor Arris (ARRS -4.8%), server OEM Super Micro (SMCI -5.8%), IP licensing firm Finjan (FNJN -13.8%), and cloud life sciences software leader Veeva (VEEV -5.7%).
- Broadcom, PMC-Sierra, and Applied Materials have joined a slew of other chip industry names in posting steep losses. Finjan is reversing yesterday's big gains. Cheetah Mobile, which sold off post-earnings last week, announced today's it's the lead investor in a $24M funding round for social/mobile ad platform Nanigans; the move follows the $58M purchase of French mobile ad network MobPartner.
- Previously covered: Solar stocks, Mobileye, GoPro, Groupon, On Track, Netlist, Baidu/Qihoo, AMD, Yingli, Lexmark/Kofax
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.
Fri, Mar. 13, 10:32 AM
- Believing a lot of good news is now priced in and that its Wi-Fi combo chip business will face tough comps in 2015, Canaccord has downgraded Broadcom (BRCM -1.7%) to Hold, and cut its target by $3 to $47.
- The firm is still positive on Broadcom's long-term prospects. "We maintain our belief Broadcom is well positioned for steady long-term mid-to-high single digit growth in its core Broadband & Connectivity and Infrastructure and Networking businesses now clear of the wireless baseband headwinds." It also see the company's capital return efforts providing a lift.
- Shares closed yesterday less than $2 away from a 52-week high of $46.22. They trade for 16x 2015E EPS.
Wed, Mar. 11, 6:24 PM
- French broadband/IPTV service provider Free (Iliad) is deploying a set-top that supports Google's recently-launched Android TV platform, and which is powered by Broadcom's (NASDAQ:BRCM) BCM7252 set-top SoC. The device, declared by Broadcom to be first 4K video-capable Android TV set-top, also features the company's Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radio ICs.
- Last year, the BCM7252 was designed into 4K-capable set-tops deployed by Indian satellite TV provider Tata Sky. At CES in January, Broadcom launched the BCM7252S, which contains a more powerful CPU and support for 60fps 4K video decoding.
- During its Q4 CC (transcript), Broadcom noted set-top chip sales (along with broadband and wireless connectivity chips) were a strong point for the company, with both emerging markets and 4K demand providing a lift. The company appears to be grabbing share from leading set-top SoC rival STMicroelectronics.
Sat, Feb. 28, 3:33 PM
- Plenty of chipmakers and related IP providers have unveiled new products this week in tandem with the industry's ISSCC conference, and in advance of the Mobile World Congress (runs from Monday-Thursday).
- ARM (NASDAQ:ARMH) has furthered its embedded/IoT push by launching IFC (short for Intelligent Flexible Cloud), a hardware/software framework for creating intelligent, reliable networks of Web-connected, ARM-powered devices.
- IFC includes networking protocols for ARM-based processors, as well as support for software-defined networking (SDN - the offloading of network management to software-based controllers) and network functions virtualization (NFV - allows commodity hardware to be turned into a networking appliance). It complements ARM's mbed IoT platform for embedded/wearable devices.
- ARM server CPU vendors Cavium, Marvell, and AppliedMicro support IFC, as does network processor vendor EZchip's (NASDAQ:EZCH) Tilera unit, which just unveiled a new line of processors (the TILE-Mx family) that supports up to 100 64-bit ARM cores and 200Gbps of throughput; it begins sampling in 2H16. Benchmark is upbeat about the TILE-Mx line's potential.
- Broadcom (NASDAQ:BRCM) has launched: 1) A smartwatch platform featuring an app processor with 2G/3G modem support, a Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo chip, a GPS SoC with an integrated sensor hub, an NFC radio, and a wireless charging IC. 2) An SoC for virtual (software-based) broadband customer premise equipment. 3) Two SoCs for wireless backhaul hardware that are declared to be the first to support 5Gbps of throughput.
- NXP (NASDAQ:NXPI) has launched: 1) Embedded microcontrollers with advanced security features meant to protect against theft/cloning. Targeted products include smart meter hubs, home/factory automation devices, and aftermarket auto hardware; SemiAccurate likes what it sees. 2) An RF transceiver that enables fully wireless earbud headphones (no wires between earbuds).
- Xilinx (NASDAQ:XLNX) has refreshed its UltraScale+ FPGA and programmable SoC lines with chips made using TSMC's next-gen 16nm FinFET+ (3D transistor) process. The chips improve performance/power draw via SRAM integration and new interconnect optimizations, begin shipping in Q4, and aim to keep Xilinx competitive on the high-end as Altera launches FPGAs using Intel's 14nm process.
- IDT (NASDAQ:IDTI), an early leader in the wireless charging IC market, has rolled out new charging transmitter and receiver ICs that can respectively handle 15W and 10W of power. The transmitter contains a low-power ARM Cortex-M0 CPU core, and is contained within a tiny 5mm x 5mm package.
Mon, Feb. 2, 10:13 AM
- Intel (INTC -0.7%) is acquiring Lantiq Semiconductor, a German developer of modem/transceiver chipsets and SoCs for home/office broadband hardware and carrier access equipment. Terms are undisclosed; presumably, the deal will be paid for with offshore cash.
- Lantiq's product line includes chips for DSL infrastructure gear, VoIP devices, GPON fiber-to-the-home networks, and DSL/Wi-Fi, Ethernet/Wi-Fi, and DSL/4G home gateways. The company has over 2K patents and design wins for hardware used on 100+ carrier networks.
- Intel declares the acquisition will "expand Intel's success in the cable residential gateway market and broaden its offering to other gateway markets, including DSL, Fiber, LTE, retail and IoT smart routers," and that pairing Intel's cable modem/gateway chip ops (i.e. the Puma line) with Lantiq's tech and talent "can allow global service providers to introduce new home computing experiences and enable consumers to take advantage of a more smart and connected home."
- Broadcom (BRCM -3.5%) isn't reacting well to the news. The company counts Intel as a major competitor in the cable modem/gateway and Wi-Fi chip markets (among others), and Lantiq as a major rival in the DSL and GPON chip markets. Shares rallied last Friday in response to Broadcom's Q4 beat.
- The purchase comes six months after Intel agreed to buy LSI/Avago's Axxia network processor unit (competes against Broadcom and several other firms) for $650M.
Fri, Jan. 30, 1:29 PM
- Following 16% Q/Q growth in Q3 (driven by iPhone-related orders), Broadcom's (BRCM +4.3%) broadband/connectivity chip sales only fell 2% Q/Q in Q4 to $1.475B, less than expected and driving the company's Q4 beat. Infrastructure/networking chip sales fell 4% Q/Q to $625M, in-line with expectations.
- On the CC (transcript), CEO Scott McGregor stated broadband/connectivity upside was "across the board, including set-top box, broadband access and particularly wireless connectivity." Wireless benefited not only from new phone launches, but also a growing mix of higher-ASP 802.11ac and 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi combo chips.
- McGregor added Broadcom is "seeing significant customer interest in our 4x4 multiuser MIMO 5G WiFi chip targeted for retail routers, broadband access gateways and set-top boxes," and has scored its first wireless charging IC design win. Q1 broadband/connectivity segment sales are expected to be down Q/Q, in-line with seasonality.
- In infrastructure/networking, data center sales were stronger than enterprise (campus LAN) and carrier sales. Strong design win activity is claimed for both Broadcom's new 3.2Tbps StrataXGS Tomahawk switching chip. Segment sales are expected to be flat Q/Q in Q1.
- Q4 gross margin was 54.7%, +60 bps Q/Q and +240 bps Y/Y, and even with a guidance midpoint of 55% after factoring stock compensation. Thanks to job cuts and the baseband wind-down, R&D spend fell 18% Y/Y to $530M, and SG&A spend rose by just $1M to $173M. $104M was spent on buybacks.
- Q4 results/guidance, PR
Thu, Jan. 29, 4:50 PM
Thu, Jan. 29, 4:08 PM
Wed, Jan. 28, 5:35 PM
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Broadcom Corp is provider of semiconductors for wired and wireless communications. It provides a portfolio of SoCs that seamlessly deliver voice, video, data and multimedia connectivity in the home, office and mobile environments.
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