Qualcomm Buys Atheros For $3.1 Billion
by John Biggs on January 5, 2011
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You’ve probably heard of Qualcomm, chip maker for almost every non-GSM device in existence and, recently, builder of well-known mobile processors, but Atheros? These guys have been quiet for years.

Atheros makes almost all wi-fi chips built into mobile devices. In short, anything that doesn’t use a cellular network, they’re on top of, and they’ve spurred the evolution of Wi-Fi over the past few years. Now, however, they’re part of Qualcomm, putting that company into a new, extremely lucrative position. In short, Qualcomm now owns a vast swathe of the mobile semiconductor space.

The sale is for $45 a share or about $3.1 billion. While it’s hard to tell if it’s slightly undervalued, this move definitely cements Qualcomm’s position in the mobile space and should have Intel and AMD concerned as you can now, feasibly, create a Qualcomm-only device using processors, cellular, and Wi-Fi chips from one vendor.

Qualcomm to Acquire Atheros, Leader in Connectivity & Networking Solutions

— Accelerates Expansion of Company’s Semiconductor Business into Adjacent Markets —

SAN DIEGO and SAN JOSE, Calif., Jan. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Qualcomm Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM) and Atheros Communications, Inc. (Nasdaq: ATHR), today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement whereby Qualcomm intends to acquire Atheros, a leader in innovative technologies for wireless and wired local area connectivity in the computing, networking and consumer electronics industries. The acquisition is intended to help accelerate the expansion of Qualcomm’s technologies and platforms to new businesses beyond cellular and provide access to significant new growth opportunities.

Qualcomm has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Atheros for $45 per share in cash, representing an enterprise value of $3.1 billion. The transaction has been approved by the Qualcomm and Atheros boards of directors and is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of domestic and foreign regulatory approvals and the approval of Atheros’ stockholders. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2011. Excluding amortization of acquired intangibles, Qualcomm expects the acquisition to be modestly accretive to earnings per share in fiscal year 2012, the first full year of combined operations. Qualcomm intends to finalize its estimates of the transaction’s financial impact, as well as the accounting for the transaction, upon deal close.

“It is Qualcomm’s strategy to continually integrate additional technologies into mobile devices to make them the primary way that people communicate, compute and access content. This acquisition is a natural extension of that strategy into other types of devices,” said Dr. Paul E. Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm. “The combination of Qualcomm and Atheros is intended to accelerate this opportunity by utilizing best-in-class products for communications, computing and consumer electronics to broaden existing customer relationships and expand access to new partners and distribution channels.”

Atheros’ current president and CEO, Dr. Craig H. Barratt, is expected to join Qualcomm as president of Qualcomm Networking & Connectivity.

“Qualcomm and Atheros have a long history of collaboration and share a culture of technical innovation and execution excellence,” Barratt said. “The Atheros team will build upon Qualcomm’s strengths and leadership to bolster our customers’ ability to deliver innovative and differentiated products in the increasingly connected world.”

“With this acquisition and our complementary products, Qualcomm will be in a strong position to take our successful mobile strategy of bringing the best technologies together into a systems solution and apply this to new opportunities,” said Steve Mollenkopf, EVP and group president of Qualcomm. “We see this strategy as central to helping our customers capitalize on the ubiquitous connectivity and seamless experiences that are developing across mobile phones, computing and consumer electronics.”

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