Qualcomm's Jacobs to Leave Board as He Explores Possible Buyout

Cheryl Sanders
March 17, 2018

Qualcomm removed Jacobs from his role as executive chairman and installed an independent director, and then delayed the shareholder meeting that would give Broadcom an opportunity to pick up the votes to take over control of part of Qualcomm's board of directors.

Jacobs, the former chief executive of the world's largest mobile chipmaker and the son of its co-founder, said in a separate statement that it was "unfortunate and disappointing" that his fellow board members were "attempting to remove me from the board at this time".

Jacobs has informed its board of directors that he will seek to partner with investment firms to make an offer for the USA semiconductor company.

Dr. Jacobs has been with Qualcomm since 1990, rising to the level of Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board. Jacobs is estimatesd to own less than 1% of Qualcomm stock.

In his statement, Jacobs said he believed that Qualcomm could strengthen itself in the global chip business by going private. The board largely agreed with Jacobs that Broadcom's bid was too low.

Today, Qualcomm announced that Jacobs would not be re-nominated to the board upon his announcement that he is exploring the possibility of acquiring Qualcomm. For an individual, raising the money needed to complete a leveraged buyout of more than $100 billion would be challenging to say the least, particularly if funding sources are restricted to the USA due to regulatory scrutiny on overseas chip deals. The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential.

This would be of a dramatically larger scale, and there's a report by the Financial Times that Jacobs approached Softbank as a potential partner in the buyout.

Qualcomm's stock was trading over $61 per share after hours, up almost 1 percent.

Jacobs holds about 1.3 million shares of Qualcomm, less than 0.1 percent of outstanding shares, according to Qualcomm's security filings. Qualcomm said the board of directors would instead consist of just 10 members. However, limited support for Qualcomm's directors could put pressure on Mollenkopf.

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