Investor Jana Partners pushes Qualcomm on stock buyback

April 14, 2015

Activist investor firm Jana Partners says Qualcomm should speed up a stock repurchase, look for ways to cut costs, and consider splitting itself up.

In a letter sent to investors, Jana Partners said Qualcomm has two "excellent" businesses in its and wireless intellectual property units, but it described Qualcomm's as underwhelming.

Qualcomm said in March that it would buy back $10 billion in over the next year and possibly another $5 billion afterward. Jana said the $10 billion should happen sooner, and it said Qualcomm should reduce its expenses at the same time and then buy back another $5 billion in shares.

The New York firm also said Qualcomm should consider changing its corporate structure, possibly by combining its chipset and IP licensing business or considering a partial or full separation of those businesses.

It said Qualcomm should also shrink its board and bring in new directors.

Qualcomm said in a news release that its combination of businesses creates more value for shareholders. The San Diego company said its board of directors reviews its corporate structure on a regular basis.

Jana Partners said it has invested more than $2 billion in Qualcomm and described itself as one of the company's largest shareholders. That suggests the company has acquired a much bigger stake in the company in 2015. The firm owned 4.4 million shares of Qualcomm at the end of 2014, which would be worth about $300 million as of Monday's close. That's good for a 0.3-percent stake in the company.

Shares of Qualcomm lost 43 cents to $68.73 on Monday. The stock has fallen 7.5 percent in 2015.

Explore further: Qualcomm rejects hedge fund call for split

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