Paul Jacobs Is Still Thinking About Taking Qualcomm Private

(Bloomberg) -- Paul Jacobs, the ousted chairman of Qualcomm Inc., is still thinking about taking the chipmaker private.

Jacobs discussed the potential for a deal, and his new company XCOM, during an interview Wednesday at Bloomberg’s Year Ahead conference in New York.

The executive said he’s always monitoring and watching what Qualcomm is doing, but noted that the company has had legal trouble, denting the shares. Earnings, before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, have been pressured and the company has less cash after recent share repurchases, he also noted.

"We’re prepared if an opportunity arises," Jacobs said.

Jacobs, son of the company’s founder and a former chief executive officer, left Qualcomm following a failed hostile acquisition attempt by rival Broadcom Inc. The takeover effort exposed investor frustration with Qualcomm’s management and its inability to solve problems that crimped earnings. Jacobs said on Wednesday he was shocked how the Broadcom-Qualcomm deal turned out.

The executive also said Qualcomm has de-emphasized development of new technology, leaving China’s Huawei Technologies Co., South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co., and his company XCOM, as the leaders.

XCOM could be involved in a deal to take Qualcomm private because the startup could operate as part of the larger firm’s research and development department, Jacobs said.

XCOM is developing future wireless technologies, beyond the 5G standard that is currently emerging. It’s working with companies including Facebook Inc. and Brain Corp.

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