Qualcomm must raise offer or abandon pursuit of NXP

November 12, 2017 //By Peter Clarke
With the stock price of NXP Semiconductors NV trading at well above the offer price from Qualcomm Corp., the US mobile semiconductor giant must surely up its offer price or give up on the deal.

However, will an increased offer come before the European Commission has ruled on whether to allow the deal to progress at all. Delays on both these fronts are prompting some observers to say the deal is doomed to fail.

NXP's share price has been on a steady increase all year and the rise does not appear to be finished yet. This has been driven partly by its own success in the hot markets of automotive and industrial applications and partly by the strength of the semiconductor market in general. The former is of course one of the reasons Qualcomm – under pressure as a supplier of mobile semiconductors – wants to get its hands on NXP.

Qualcomm made its offer of $110 per NXP share back in late 2016 and even in February 2017 when the NXP share price had just gone over $100 the 10 percent premium looked inadequate, prompting us to ask whether NXP shareholders should hold out for more (see Could NXP shareholders get more cash from Qualcomm?).

NXP's stock is now trading at $117, so why would shareholders take Qualcomm's offer of $110.

In fact, the share price went to $110 at the end of July and was pegged at $112 until late September. At that level it was arguable that $110 in the pocket is preferable to a share that could go down as well as up. But at $117 and with the following wind behind NXP and the semiconductor market it would seem that despite the best efforts of both Qualcomm's and NXP's management, NXP shareholders are disinclined towards the deal.

Next: Waiting on the European Commission