Qualcomm says former chairman exploring buyout option after hostile takeover bid blocked

Former Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs. (REUTERS)
Updated 17 March 2018
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Qualcomm says former chairman exploring buyout option after hostile takeover bid blocked

SAN FRANCISCO: Qualcomm said on Friday that Paul Jacbos, its chairman until a week ago, was considering a buyout effort for the California chipmaking giant just days after it fended off a hostile bid from Singapore rival Broadcom.
Jacobs, who had been chief executive at Qualcomm for a decade and executive chairman until March 9, will not be renominated to its board at its annual meeting next Friday, the company said.
The board made a decision not to renominate Jacobs “following his notification to the board that he has decided to explore the possibility of making a proposal to acquire Qualcomm.”
As a result, the number of board members will be reduced from 11 to 10 as of the holding of the annual meeting.
The statement said that if Jacobs does make a bid, “the board will of course evaluate it consistent with its fiduciary duties to shareholders.”
The announcement comes after reports that Jacobs has sought to raise capital for a Qualcomm bid, and had approached Japanese tech giant SoftBank, which is in the midst of a major investment spree in the sector.
Jacobs is the son of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs and was CEO at the San Diego firm from 2005 to 2014.
Last week, he was replaced as chairman by Jeffrey Henderson, who will be non-executive chairman at Qualcomm, the leading maker of chips for smartphones.
The news comes days after US President Donald Trump blocked a $117 billion hostile bid from Broadcom, citing national security reasons.
US officials had maintained that Broadcom would have curbed innovation at the US chip giant and opened the door to Chinese firms to dominate the process for 5G, or fifth-generation wireless networks.
Qualcomm’s market value is around $90 billion, and is seen as an important player in the 5G race, but it has been hampered by antitrust actions around the world and litigation with Apple over claims that the chipmaker abused its dominance in the sector.
Qualcomm is also in the process of trying to close a takeover of Dutch chip rival NXP.
The board statement said that Qualcomm is now “focused on executing its business plan and maximizing value for shareholders as an independent company.”
It added that Jacobs “has been a valued employee and director of Qualcomm since 1990” and that “he has been one of the great innovators in our industry.”


Lebanon president: negative rumors about the economy harm country

Updated 19 September 2018
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Lebanon president: negative rumors about the economy harm country

  • Lebanon has been without a government for four months since a national election
  • “The Lebanese pound is not in danger and Lebanon is not on the road to bankruptcy," Aoun said

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s currency is not in danger and rumors about the economy are causing harm, President Michel Aoun said on Wednesday, amid concern that a political deadlock has blocked urgent reforms and left the heavily indebted country vulnerable.
Lebanon has been without a government for four months since a national election. The central bank has issued repeated assurances about the soundness of the Lebanese pound’s peg to the dollar and the size of its foreign currency reserves, in response to speculation over the currency’s future.
“The Lebanese pound is not in danger and Lebanon is not on the road to bankruptcy. The economic situation is difficult but the things being spread as rumors are harming Lebanon,” Aoun said, in comments published by his office.
“We do not deny that there is a crisis,” Aoun said, but added that the country was working to address it.
Lebanon had the world’s third highest debt-to-GDP ratio, at over 150 percent, at the end of 2017. The International Monetary Fund wants to see immediate and substantial fiscal adjustment to improve debt sustainability.
The failure of politicians to form a government needed to undertake the necessary reforms following the parliamentary election in May has added to concern for the economy.
Leaders from across the political spectrum have in recent months said the political stalemate is harming the economy and a government needs to be formed. Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri this month said the country was in “intensive care” and the economic situation was “very dangerous.”
While politicians have stopped short of saying the peg is in danger, some economic analysts abroad have been considering the possibility of a devaluation.
“Lebanon’s ongoing political stalemate has renewed market concerns over the country’s frail balance sheets which could propel the government to devalue the Lebanese Pound ... Under this scenario, the authorities would find it increasingly challenging to service their large foreign currency debts,” Japan’s MUFG Bank said in a report on Wednesday.