SAN FRANCISCO — President Trump appeared to bail out Qualcomm on Monday by blocking Broadcom’s hostile takeover attempt of the chip maker, citing national security fears about China.
But Qualcomm’s management team may not be out of the woods.
Another arm of the United States government, the Federal Trade Commission, contends that some of Qualcomm’s key business practices are illegal. So does Apple, the most influential trendsetter in wireless phones.
Such legal threats, and some signs of shareholder support for Broadcom’s $117 billion bid, suggest that Qualcomm’s chief executive, Steven Mollenkopf, may still be in the hot seat. That means the company, which is based in San Diego, may need to take new steps to assuage investors unhappy with its performance.
“The feedback on the ground was a manifest dissatisfaction with the management team,” Edward Snyder, an analyst at Charter Equity Research, said of what he had heard from Qualcomm’s shareholders. “Qualcomm is in a tight spot at this point.”
A Qualcomm spokeswoman declined to comment. Directors will likely give Mr. Mollenkopf more time to execute on promises to increase Qualcomm’s profits, said a person close to the company who declined to be named because discussions are confidential.
Changes have already been taking place. This month, Qualcomm’s board had announced the replacement of Paul Jacobs, a son of one of the company’s founders, as executive chairman in favor of an independent chairman. It has also made plans to trim $1 billion in expenses and raise its dividend by 9 percent, further attempts to convince shareholders that management intends to improve returns.
Qualcomm had earlier decided to reshape its business by buying NXP Semiconductors, a $44 billion transaction…
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