Qualcomm sniffs around NXP

Mobile chip giant Qualcomm is thinking of dropping $30 billion on NFC chip company NXP according to sources at the WSJ and Reuters.

If the deal does happen the final price is likely to be considerably more than $30 billion as NXP’s market capitalisation wasn’t far short of that even before the reports and its shares spiked by around 17% after they were published. Qualcomm’s shared also jumped by 6% yesterday, implying the market likes the idea.

NXP is generally known as the leader in NFC chips, but it acquired Freescale in 2015 to add automotive and microcontroller silicon to its portfolio, which it then repackaged as a general IoT chip cornucopia. This is presumably how Qualcomm would position the move, if it happened, and phrases like ‘IoT powerhouse’ can be expected to feature strongly.

IoT seems to be the catalyst for quite a lot of mega-M&A right now. Softbank’s acquisition of ARM was positioned as an IoT play, as was the similar sized acquisition of Broadcom by Avago. Cisco dropped a chunk of change on IoT specialist Jasper earlier this year, while companies like Intel and Samsung are making a big show of prioritizing IoT in their strategies.

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