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Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM)

  • Nov. 21, 2014, 5:47 PM
    • Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) has sold its Taiwanese Mirasol display plant to TSMC (NYSE:TSM) for $85M, per a TSMC regulatory filing.
    • Taiwanese media previously reported Qualcomm was set to sell the plant, which it once planned to invest up to $975M in, and that TSMC wanted to use it to expands its chip assembly/testing ops.
    • Meanwhile, the sell-side has been busy debating Qualcomm's analyst day guidance and commentary, with much of the attention on focused on the company's China remarks. Cowen's Tim Arcuri is somewhat encouraged. "The company provided no new substantive regulatory (NDRC/FTC/EU) updates, but seemed to strike a more definitive tone about ultimately collecting royalties on 'substantially all LTE devices.'"
    • That, in turn, makes Arcuri think the most likely outcome for the China dispute is "some combination of a fine, potential changes in the royalty rate structure for all of [Qualcomm's] licensees operating in China, and/or increased investment in the local China semiconductor supply chain."
    • Bernstein's Stacy Rasgon is less positive. "We do not believe the near-term regulatory issues (particularly China) are truly the primary issue anymore ... The bigger issue being how the rise of China, at scale, is changing the overarching market dynamics that Qualcomm plays."
  • Nov. 10, 2014, 3:55 PM
    • Taiwan's Economic Daily News reports Qualcomm (QCOM +0.1%) is set to sell a plant in Longtan, Taiwan to top foundry partner TSMC (TSM +2%) for "several billion [Taiwanese] dollars." One U.S. dollar is equal to 30.59 Taiwanese dollars.
    • Back in 2011, Qualcomm announced plans to invest up to $975M to build a plant in Longtan to manufacture Mirasol color e-ink displays. But the following year, the company declared it was ending Mirasol production due to manufacturing challenges. TSMC reportedly wants to use the plant to expand its chip packaging/testing ops.
    • Separately, TSMC has reported its October sales: With the help of strong Apple A8 CPU orders, revenue rose 7.9% M/M and 55.9% Y/Y to NT$80.74B ($2.64B). The company previously forecast total Q4 sales of NT$217B-$220B, good for 4%-5% Q/Q growth.
  • Jul. 2, 2014, 6:51 PM
    • Israel's Wilocity is a top developer of chips/firmware for the nascent WiGig (802.11ad) standard, which (using 60GHz. spectrum) can deliver speeds of up to 7Gbps to devices within 10m of each other, and thus act as a USB/HDMI replacement. (PR)
    • No acquisition price has been given. The Marker reported in May Qualcomm (QCOM) is in talks to buy Wilocity for ~$300M.
    • Qualcomm's Atheros unit has been working with Wilocity since 2011 to develop tri-band Wi-Fi/WiGig offerings for the PC market. Going forward, Qualcomm plans to develop mobile/networking tri-band platforms, and offer a reference design that pairs one with its Snapdragon 810 processor (next-gen flagship, due in commercial hardware in 1H15).
    • Yesterday: Qualcomm buys CSR's Israeli imaging IP unit
  • Jul. 1, 2014, 2:40 PM
    • Qualcomm (QCOM +0.7%) is buying U.K. chipmaker CSR's (CSRE -0.6%) Israeli ops. TheMarker reports the purchase price is $45M.
    • The purchase provides Qualcomm with imaging IP and engineering talent. The company states the deal will help it "continue successfully developing cameras so that smartphones will provide the same quality as a digital camera."
    • Qualcomm doesn't compete in the image sensor market, but it has integrated a decent amount of image-processing IP into its Snapdragon processors. Its flagship Snapdragon 805 can handle 55MP images with the help of dual image signal processors (ISPs).
    • Last week, Qualcomm announced it has bought power amplifier vendor Black Sand.
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  • Jun. 25, 2014, 6:22 PM
    • Black Sand Technologies, based out of Austin, was founded in '05 and has raised $28.2M in funding over its history.
    • Notably, the product page on Black Sand's site only shows 3G amplifiers, and the most recent PR on its news page is from 2012. All signs suggest Qualcomm (QCOM) is buying the company to strengthen its power amplifier IP and/or engineering talent, as it encroaches on the turf of established vendors such as Skyworks (SWKS), TriQuint (TQNT), RF Micro (RFMD), and Avago (AVGO) with system-level solutions.
    • Qualcomm, estimated to have 64% of the 2013 baseband processor market, made a dramatic entry into the amplifier market last year by announcing an RF front end solution (amplifiers included) that promised superior 3G/4G multi-band support and (via technologies such as envelope tracking) power efficiency. Skyworks, TriQuint, and RF Micro all tumbled following the announcement.
  • Jun. 2, 2014, 12:23 PM
    • After opening up 13% on news it's weighing a sale or wind-down of its baseband chip unit, Broadcom (BRCM) has pared its gains a bit.
    • One concern: Broadcom might little to nothing in a sale, given the baseband unit has been hemorrhaging cash and (as recently noted by CLSA) companies not named Qualcomm (QCOM +0.3%) or MediaTek have had a rough time turning a profit in the R&D-intensive business.
    • Broadcom is only 9 months removed from paying $164M for Renesas' 4G baseband unit. Since then, the company has reportedly scored 4G design wins, but has also warned of top-line pressures caused by 3G weakness.
    • Goldman notes Broadcom had only 4% of the 2013 baseband market (per Gartner), a tiny fraction of Qualcomm's 62%, and is set to lose share in 2014. The firm estimates Qualcomm gets a $0.02 EPS benefit for each percentage point it gains.
    • Goldman adds Broadcom has noted its low-end/mid-range combo chip sales could be pressured as more functionality gets integrated with baseband ICs; the company had 39% of the 2013 mobile connectivity market to Qualcomm's 20%. Likewise, Wells Fargo sees a baseband exit hurting Broadcom's combo chip position.
    • Texas Instruments, Freescale, and ST-Ericsson each wound up shutting down their baseband ops rather than selling them.
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  • May 12, 2014, 7:55 AM
    • TheMarker reports Quallcomm (QCOM) is in talks to buy Israeli chipmaker Wilocity for ~$300M. Wilocity is said to have given a notice of sale to employees.
    • Wilocity, founded in 2007 by ex-Intel employees, develops chips and related firmware for the nascent WiGig (802.11ad) standard, which aims to act as an HDMI/USB alternative by enabling transfer speeds of up to 7Gbps between devices within 10 meters of each other (a much shorter range than Wi-Fi).
    • The purchase would complement Qualcomm's Atheros Wi-Fi chip unit, which already has a partnership with Wilocity and has been grabbing share from Broadcom (BRCM) in the mid-range Wi-Fi/Bluetooth combo chip market - future combo chips with integrated WiGig seem likely.
    • Broadcom, which still controls the high-end combo chip space, also backs WiGig, as do Intel, Marvell, and Nvidia.
  • May 1, 2014, 4:13 AM
    • Qualcomm (QCOM) has agreed to turn its location-awareness business into a separate company called Gimbal and sell a majority holding to a group of investors that includes AEG.
    • Financial details of the deal weren't provided.
    • Gimbal's technology enables retailers and sports venues to track the specific location of customers on their premises and send targeted ad messages. (PR)
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  • Feb. 24, 2014, 9:21 AM
    • Skyworks (SWKS) is up 3.2% premarket, Qualcomm (QCOM) is up 1%, and Anadigics (ANAD) is up 3.7% following news RF component vendors TriQuint and RF Micro are merging. The merging companies themselves are up sharply.
    • RF Micro/TriQuint, which comes on the heels of Avago/LSI, appears to be fueling hopes of additional consolidation in the RF component space. There might also be expectations rivals will be able to take share, as common customers such as Apple and Samsung try to stay diversified.
    • Though Qualcomm's chip unit is best known for its baseband and app processors, it also has a large and growing RF component business, one Qualcomm hopes to expand via its innovative/ambitious RF front end platform.
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  • Nov. 4, 2013, 5:00 AM
    • Fairfax Financial Holdings (FRFHF) has until 5 pm today to firm up the preliminary $4.7B bid for BlackBerry (BBRY) that the Toronto-based firm made six weeks ago.
    • The deadline comes amid reports that Fairfax, which is BlackBerry's largest shareholder with a 9.9% stake, has struggled to secure financing for the deal, while it is also yet to name partners.
    • Other bids could come in by the deadline, although it could be extended. Those who are reportedly interested in the beleaguered cell-phone maker include a group that could eventually be comprised of the company's founders, Qualcomm (QCOM) and Cerberus.
  • Nov. 1, 2013, 4:55 PM
    • A couple hours after reporting Cerberus is exploring a joint bid for BlackBerry (BBRY) with co-founders Mike Lazaridis and Doug Fregin, the WSJ reports Qualcomm (QCOM) is in talks to join the effort
    • It's unlikely Qualcomm would have much interest in BlackBerry's hardware ops, which compete against the mobile chip/IP giant's largest customers. But it could find some value in BlackBerry's sizable patent portfolio.
  • Oct. 31, 2013, 12:15 PM
    • Qualcomm (QCOM +0.3%) has acquired FlexNoc, a technology platform that improves the performance and simplifies the development of interconnects linking different modules within SoCs such as Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors. Terms are undisclosed.
    • FlexNoc, along with its engineering team, is being acquired from French interconnect IP developer Arteris, which already claims Qualcomm and many other major chipmakers (e.g. TI, Samsung, Cavium, Altera) as customers. Arteris promises to continue supporting third-party FlexNoc clients, but there's skepticism about its ability to pull it off.
    • With mobile SoCs featuring a huge and growing number of building blocks - CPU cores, GPU cores, DSPs, media processors, and display/connectivity interfaces are among the items in question - acquiring direct control of FlexNoc could strengthen Qualcomm's Snapdragon R&D efforts.
    • Qualcomm has been spending aggressively to stay ahead of mobile processor rivals: R&D spend rose 36% Y/Y in the June quarter to $1.13B.
    • FQ4 results are due on Nov. 6.
  • Oct. 18, 2013, 11:47 AM
    • Indian carrier Bharti Airtel says it has bought Qulacomm's (QCOM -0.1%) 51% stake in a JV that owns valuable 4G spectrum licenses. Deal terms haven't been disclosed.
    • Qualcomm sold a 49% stake in the JV to Bharti last year for just $165M, after paying $1B for the licenses in 2010. As desired by Qualcomm, Bharti will use the spectrum to build a 4G network with a TD-LTE air interface. TD-LTE offers more downlink capacity in urban areas than FDD-LTE interfaces, which are used in most current 4G builds.
  • Sep. 24, 2013, 5:47 PM
    • Using the LTE-Broadcast standard and spectrum it acquired from Qualcomm (QCOM) in 2011, AT&T (T) plans to create a mobile broadcast network to deliver video services to its subs. CEO Randall Stephenson hints the project has a 3-year ETA.
    • AT&T's plans come even though Qualcomm's FLO TV mobile broadcast service (it used the spectrum sold to AT&T) crashed and burned in epic fashion. Nonetheless, Qualcomm is a major backer of LTE Broadcast, and is integrating the technology into its baseband chips.
    • Qualcomm argues LTE Broadcast's broader chip/phone support, integration with existing LTE networks and spectrum, and ability to let carriers quickly change what kind of content is broadcast at a particular base station will allow it to succeed where FLO TV failed.
    • Stephenson also mentioned AT&T is close to selling its wireless tower assets. A sale could yield AT&T ~$5B in cash it could use to either pay down debt or make a European acquisition.
    • Previous: AT&T closes ATNI deal, provides business update
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  • Aug. 15, 2013, 11:34 AM
    • Intel (INTC -1.8%) has quietly acquired a U.S.-based Fujitsu unit that has developed a multimode 4G RF transceiver chip. Terms are undisclosed.
    • The chip giant calls Fujitsu's transceiver "probably the most advanced multimode LTE RF transceiver available in the open market." It should complement Intel's 4G baseband chips, and compete with transceivers from Qualcomm (QCOM), Analog Devices (ADI), and others.
    • Intel's Infineon mobile chip unit has been slow to roll out a multimode 4G baseband; Intel has promised phones featuring one will arrive early next year. In the meantime, Qualcomm controls a 90%+ share of the burgeoning 4G baseband market.
    • Meanwhile, Baird's Tristan Gerra justifies his downgrades of Intel and Micron (MU -4.6%) by citing a litany of concerns stemming from an Asian trip. Gerra's findings point to "a below-seasonal outlook for the second-half, with recent reductions in PC order rates, continued weakness in smartphones, rising analog IC inventories at distributors," and the potential for DRAM supply to exceed demand.
    • Micron recently forecast DRAM bit growth will remain muted in 2H and 2014, leading to a favorable supply/demand balance.
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  • Mar. 6, 2013, 4:41 AM
    Sharp's (SHCAY.PK) future looks a little more secure after confirming that Samsung (SSNLF.PK) has agreed to invest ¥10.3B ($110M) in the struggling Japanese company in return for a 3% stake. Sharp will also provide large TV panels to the Korean firm and increase the shipments of smaller LCDs. Samsung's investment adds to a $120M injection from Qualcomm (QCOM) in December. Sharp's shares surged 14.05% in Tokyo on reports of the latest deal. (PR)
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Company Description
Qualcomm Inc develops digital communication technology called CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), & owns intellectual property applicable to products that implement any version of CDMA including patents, patent applications & trade secrets.