Following news from CNBC that Broadcom Ltd. (AVGO) is preparing to go hostile with its bid to buy rival chipmaker Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM), one team of analysts on the Street suggests that, deal or no deal, there is downside risk in QCOM shares.
Stifel Nicolaus semiconductor stock analyst Kevin Cassidy reduced his rating on shares of San Diego, Calif.-based Qualcomm from buy to hold, while increasing his price target to $75 from $65. He expects shares to gain 12.7% over the 12-month period. Closing down 2.7% at $66.52, QCOM reflects an approximate 2% gain year-to-date (YTD), while the S&P 500 has increased 17.3% over the same period.
In a research note to clients, the Stifel analyst writes that Broadcom’s hostile bid for Qualcomm could lead to protracted negotiations that present a downward bias to the stock. Two weeks ago, Qualcomm rejected Broadcom’s initial bid, on the basis that the purchase price was too low. Reports now indicate that Broadcom is preparing to nominate a slate of individuals to replace all of Qualcomm’s current board members.
Apple, NXP Uncertainty
If no deal materializes, Cassidy suggests that QCOM could lose a fourth of its value and plummet to $50, “near the $54.84 that the shares closed on November 2, prior to initial reports of the potential acquisition.”
If Broadcom succeeds, the analyst indicates that since the acquisition would likely face an extended regulatory review and drag out the deal's close to 12 months after a definitive agreement, shares would most likely trade at a discount through 2018. He opines that the price would be “high $70 to $80” per share for QCOM.
Ultimately, Cassidy attributes various factors including the two bad possible outcomes, Qualcomm’s ongoing legal battle with Apple Inc. (AAPL) and the uncertainty of QCOM’s bid for NXP Semiconductors (NXPI) as pushing him “to the sidelines.” (See also: NVIDIA, Intel, Broadcom Are All Cloud Buys: RBC.)