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.”


UAE’s Network International shrugs off Brexit to list shares in London

Updated 21 March 2019
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UAE’s Network International shrugs off Brexit to list shares in London

  • The planned share sale comes at an uncertain time in the UK
  • The company, which operates hospitals in the Middle East, was said to be also considering listing in the US or Singapore

DUBAI: Network International, the UAE payments processor, has committed to a London IPO next month in what would be the UK’s first big share sale of the year.
The company intends to have a free float of at least 25 percent and admission to the London Stock Exchange is expected to take place in April, Network International said in a regulatory filing on Thursday.
The planned share sale comes at an uncertain time in the UK where there is still no clarity around whether Britain will leave the EU or not at the end of the month.
VPS Healthcare, the Abu Dhabi-based hospital operator, is reconsidering plans to list in London due to uncertainty surrounding Brexit, Bloomberg reported on Thursday citing a person familiar with the matter.
The company, which operates hospitals in the Middle East, was said to be also considering listing in the US or Singapore.
Emirates NBD, Dubai’s biggest bank, owns 51 percent of Network International while Warburg Pincus and General Atlantic jointly own the rest.
The share sale will be a key test of investor demand for new listings in London after a subdued 2018 across most European markets.
“Volatility has continued in recent months, driven by the uncertainty around trade between the US and China, the wider geopolitical climate and the potential end of the current bull run,” said Peter Whelan, partner and UK IPO Lead at PwC in a recent report.
“We are seeing a healthy number of companies preparing for an IPO in 2019 despite the ongoing Brexit negotiations which have clearly impacted IPO activity on the London market.”
The payment processor reported earnings of $298 million last year according to its website, up from $262 million a year earlier. It does not disclose net income figures.
The company handles digital payments across the Middle East, which generate three quarters of its total earnings.
Last year it processed some $40 billion in payments for more than 65,000 merchants.
Its key markets in the region include the UAE and Jordan it says that Saudi Arabia offers “significant opportunities.” It also offers services in 40 African countries with Egypt, Nigeria and South Africa being its most important segments on the continent.