Qualcomm’s Jacobs reportedly making headway with takeover plan

Paul Jacobs served as Qualcomm's CEO from 2005 to 2014. (Mike Dano/FierceWireless)

According to a new Bloomberg report, the son of Qualcomm’s founder is making progress in obtaining enough money to fund his efforts to take over the company and make it a private entity.

According to the report, which cited an unnamed person familiar with the proceeding, Paul Jacobs is negotiating with a wide range of financiers including strategic investors, sovereign wealth funds and individuals. The report indicated that Jacobs believes he has a good chance to make a bid for Qualcomm.

It’s worth noting that last month, unnamed sources told the Financial Times that Jacobs had approached several investors including Japan’s SoftBank Group, which owns silicon company ARM Holdings as well as Sprint, for money for the takeover.

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Reports surfaced last month that Paul Jacobs—son of Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs—was exploring options to purchase Qualcomm despite the fact that he currently only owns less than 1% of the company. Paul Jacobs took over leadership of Qualcomm from his father in 2005 and served as the company’s CEO until 2014. He remained chairman of Qualcomm until last month, when it apparently became clear that he had designs on the company.

Interestingly, as Bloomberg noted, there is precedent for Paul Jacobs’ efforts: Dell founder Michael Dell retook control of the company in a 2013 deal that made Dell a private company.

Jacobs’ pursuit of Qualcomm comes at a complicated time for the chipmaker. Qualcomm has pinned much of its hopes on its still pending but much delayed attempt to purchase NXP. The acquisition still needs approval from the Chinese government—a green light that may not be forthcoming considering President Trump specifically singled out Chinese espionage as a major reason it moved to block Broadcom’s proposed purchase of Qualcomm. Trump is also embarking on the beginnings of what some believe could be a major trade war with the country.

The company is also embroiled in an ongoing patent-licensing battle with Apple. Thus, even is Jacobs is successful in taking over Qualcomm, he would still have a number of serious challenges to untangle.