Former Qualcomm chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs (pictured) is reportedly seeking funding from investors including SoftBank to buy out the US-based chipmaker, after a $142 billion hostile bid by Broadcom was blocked by US President Donald Trump.
Jacobs, Qualcomm’s CEO from July 2005 to March 2014, informed members of the board of his plan, which would be one of the biggest buyouts ever, Financial Times (FT) reported. Japan-based SoftBank, which controls the $100 billion Vision Fund technology investment pot, is one of the potential partners he approached.
Broadcom this week officially terminated its attempt to acquire Qualcomm after Trump issued an unprecedented US presidential order blocking the deal due to national security concerns. The Singapore-headquartered company also withdrew six nominees it put forward for election to Qualcomm’s board.
Sources told FT Jacobs’ personal ties with SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son could facilitate a deal. However, there are complications: not only is Qualcomm is an investor in the Vision Fund, but it is also one of the main customers of SoftBank-owned chip technology company Arm.
In addition, funding from the Japan-based company could draw attention from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, which investigated whether Broadcom’s proposed takeover of Qualcomm posed a threat to national security. It raised concerns any weakening of Qualcomm’s position in 5G development caused by a hostile takeover could “leave an opening for China to expand its influence on the 5G standard-setting process”.
Jacobs, son of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs, was only just replaced as chairman by Jeffrey Henderson: the company explained the appointment of an independent chairman is in its best interests at what is an “important juncture” in its history. Jacobs, who was central to fighting off the Broadcom offer, remains a director.