Qualcomm proposes further price talks with Broadcom

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(Reuters) – Chipmaker Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) on Monday urged Broadcom Ltd (AVGO.O) to enter into price negotiations on its $117 billion offer for the company, saying the two sides had made progress on regulatory issues but were yet to agree on the deal value.

Qualcomm maintained that all of Broadcom’s previous offers materially undervalued the company and proposed they conduct mutual due diligence to look more closely at each other’s books.

In a letter to Broadcom Chief Executive Hock Tan, Qualcomm proposed arranging a meeting focused on price as soon as mutually convenient for both parties.

The letter comes ahead of a showdown on March 6, when Qualcomm shareholders are scheduled to elect an 11-member board and decide whether to hand control to a slate of six nominees put forward by Broadcom.

Broadcom cut its bid last week by 4 percent to $117 billion after Qualcomm’s decision to raise its own bid for NXP Semiconductors NV (NXPI.O) to $44 billion, a potential deal breaker for what would be the biggest ever technology merger.

FILE PHOTO: A sign to the campus offices of chip maker Broadcom Ltd is shown in Irvine, California, U.S., November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo

Qualcomm’s shares were up nearly 3 percent at $65.18 in premarket trading on Monday, still well below Broadcom’s latest offer of $79 per share.

Qualcomm also softened its approach to Broadcom’s commitments on regulatory approval for the deal, saying the path forward did not require a ‘hell or high water’ commitment.

Qualcomm, however, urged the Singapore-based chipmaker to provide more clarity regarding its plans for Qualcomm’s licensing business, which Broadcom has been unwilling to reveal.

“We are willing to jointly select a law firm with antitrust expertise that you would fully brief on your licensing plans,” Qualcomm said.

In a meeting with Broadcom on Friday, Qualcomm proposed a reverse termination fee of 9 percent of enterprise value, if Broadcom fails to win regulatory approvals.

Broadcom had previously proposed a $8 billion breakup fee. The company was not immediately available for comment.

Reporting by Sonam Rai in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty