The show must go on without Qualcomm acquisition, says Broadcom CFO
SAN FRANCISCO — Broadcom executives said the company is eyeing fresh potential targets for acquisition, just days after U.S. President Donald Trump quashed the company’s proposed $117 billion hostile takeover attempt of rival Qualcomm.
“We do see potential [acquisition] targets that are consistent with our proven business model and that also can drive returns well in excess of what we would otherwise achieve buying our own stock and/or paying down debt,” said Tom Krause, Broadcom’s chief financial officer, in a conference call with analysts to discuss the company’s fiscal first quarter financial results.
But Krause added that future acquisition targets would be much smaller than the deal for Qualcomm, which would have been the largest high-tech acquisition in history and been financed largely through bank loans.
“Our future acquisitions are much more likely to be funded with cash available on our balance sheet and without the need to flex the balance sheet much beyond our current financial policy of two times net leverage,” Krause said. He added that Broadcom executives would not take comments on the Qualcomm deal or Trump’s order in the Q&A portion of the analyst call.
Trump, in an order issued Monday (March 12), took the unprecedented step of prohibiting an acquisition on national security grounds prior to a deal being finalized. In fact, after Qualcomm’s board unanimously rejected Broadcom offers multiple times, the fate of the acquisition bid was to be decided by the election of Qualcomm board members at Qualcomm’s annual shareholder meeting.
The Qualcomm stockholder vote had been pushed back after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) raised concerns that the acquisition of Qualcomm by Broadcom would hurt U.S. standing in 5G and pave the way for Qualcomm rivals based in China to take the lead in the space.
Analysts widely expect Broadcom to continue its acquisition spree following the Qualcomm ruling. Under CEO Hock Tan, Broadcom has grown aggressively through acquisition, including recent buys of LSI and Brocade. Broadcom as it exists today was formed through acquisition when Avago Technologies bought Broadcom Corp. in 2015 and took the name.
Also Thursday, Broadcom reported fiscal first quarter earnings and sales slightly better than most analysts expected. The company posted sales of $5.33 billion, up 10 percent from the previous quarter and up 29 percent from the first quarter of fiscal 2017.
Broadcom reported a net income of more than $6.57 billion for the first quarter, thanks largely to the significant impact of provisional income tax benefits provided by the U.S. government’s recent tax code overhaul. The net income was more than 10 times the net income the company reported in the previous or year-ago quarters.
For the current quarter, Broadcom said it expects sales to decline to about $5 billion.
— Dylan McGrath is the editor-in-chief of EE Times.