Qualcomm and Broadcom declined comment on the reports from Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, but Broadcom Chief Executive Hock Tan has a history of aggressively acquiring companies to bolster his company's growth.
Like Qualcomm, Broadcom is a major supplier of parts for Apple products. A final decision on whether to proceed has not been made, they said.
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Qualcomm shares jumped more than 12 percent, to $61.55 in late trading following a Bloomberg story, which cited unnamed sources familiar with the deal. Broadcom shares rose nearly 5 percent, for a market cap of $111 billion.
Shares of Qualcomm surged roughly 15% on the news, while Broadcom's stock climbed more than 3%. Broadcom itself was reborn in 2016 when Avago Technologies Ltd. acquired Broadcom Corp. for $37 billion. That would give Qualcomm a market value of $103.2 billion. Tan has said he wants more deals, a strategy that could be limited by opposition from USA regulators.
Qualcomm and Apple have been embroiled in a dispute over royalties that has landed the two corporations in court. This week, Broadcom said it would move its headquarters from Singapore back to the USA, where it lists an HQ in San Jose, California. Even though Qualcomm's component is considered to be the best, Apple is trying to get back at the company for various patent and legal issues.
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Shares of Broadcom have rallied this year while Qualcomm has fallen, making the target more vulnerable. It has faced regulatory scrutiny in Europe, and some shareholders such as activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. have said the deal undervalues NXP, a large maker of automotive and other chips.
Antitrust officials, who also would have to approve a Broadcom-Qualcomm deal, are still considering Qualcomm's purchase of NXP.
Such a deal would cap an ongoing consolidation of the semiconductor industry.
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