Jacobs, who was chair of Qualcomm from 2009 until last month and served as CEO from 2005 until 2014, is reportedly talking with strategic investors, sovereign wealth funds and wealthy individuals about chipping in with enough funds to help finance a bid. According to inside sources, he rates his chances of taking control of Qualcomm at better than 50%.
Sources told CNBC that Jacob wants to take the company his father co-founded private because his plans for Qualcomm would require significant investment and things that shareholders will probably not agree with. The sources added that these plans don’t include carving up the chipmaker.
Jacobs, who left his role as chair following a failed hostile acquisition attempt by rival Broadcom Ltd. (AVGO), also wants fewer than 10 owners to be involved in the deal and is keen to personally run Qualcomm after it goes private. He currently owns less than 0.5 percent of the company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
CNBC identified mobile chip designer Arm, the U.K.-based tech firm that was bought by Softbank Group Corp. (SFTBF) for more than $30 billion, as one of the potential interested parties. Arm denied that it had talked to Jacobs about a deal when questioned by CNBC. "There have been no discussions between Arm and Paul Jacobs on any potential acquisition of Qualcomm," a spokesperson at the company said.
Jacobs is also reportedly keen to use his good relationship with Apple Inc. (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook to settle Qualcomm’s ongoing dispute with the iPhone maker. Apple claimed that Qualcomm overcharged for its licenses and sued the company for patent infringement. (See also: Apple's Hardware Partnership With Qualcomm Is Unraveling.)
Unlike Broadcom, which failed in a bid to takeover Qualcomm for around $120 billion earlier this year, Jacob wants to maintain the chipmaker’s license business. (See also: Broadcom's Bid for Qualcomm Will Fail, Traders Indicate.)