Well, here's a new wrinkle in Broadcom's quest to buy rival chipmaker Qualcomm: Intel might actually try to buy Broadcom.
Intel, the world's biggest PC and server chip company, is mulling a bid for Broadcom, a company that makes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other connectivity chips, according to a report Friday from The Wall Street Journal. The newspaper said Intel's worried about the power a combined Broadcom and Qualcomm would hold. In response, it could make a offer to buy Broadcom if it looks like Broadcom will succeed in its hostile bid for Qualcomm, the Journal said.
Intel reportedly has been considering the acquisition since late last year and is working with advisers, the Journal said. But the paper, citing unnamed sources, said such a deal would be "enormous" and complex and may never happen.
Intel said in a statement that it doesn't comment on rumors or speculation related to mergers. "That being said, we have made important acquisitions over the past 30 months -- including Mobileye and Altera -- and our focus is on integrating those acquisitions and making them successful for our customers and shareholders," the company said.
Broadcom didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Qualcomm, the world's largest maker of chips and processors for phones, rejected a revised, $121 billion buyout in February. Talks grew more contentious a few weeks later when Broadcom lowered its buyout offer for Qualcomm to approximately $117 billion, making "an inadequate offer even worse."
Earlier this week, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or Cfius, called for an investigation of Broadcom's proposed acquisition of Qualcomm, worrying the hostile bid could pose a risk to US national security. Cfius reviews mergers that could result in a foreign company controlling an American business. It typically gets involved after a deal has been struck, but in this case, Qualcomm asked it to step in earlier.
A combination of the two companies would create a chip giant supplying components to a wide array of electronic gadgets found in your home or pocket -- and would mean that one major company served as the primary supplier for key components used by Samsung, Apple and other tech giants. It also would pose a threat to Intel, which already has seen its position decline as its core market -- PCs -- shrinks in favor of mobile devices.
Intel has been making advancements in mobile devices, including supplying 4G chips for the newest iPhones, but it still lags Qualcomm's might in the wireless market.
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