The Wall Street Journal reports Broadcom’s wireless segment is for sale and could bring $10 billion. The segment sells RF front-end components for mobile phones, competing with Qualcomm, Qorvo and Skyworks.
Broadcom has leveraged its film bulk acoustic resonator (FBAR) filter capability, originally developed by HP, to establish a strong and growing position in the iPhone, capitalizing on the increasing number of frequency bands and associated filters in mobile phones.
During Broadcom’s fourth quarter earnings call on December 12, CEO Hock Tan implied the business could be sold when he described the company’s semiconductor businesses. He categorized the business into two segments: core and standalone; the wireless and industrial segments fall in the standalone category. He said the standalone businesses don’t provide the synergies in end markets, customers and silicon technology as the core segment does. Speaking about the standalone category, he said,
“Increasingly, we view this business as more financial assets, especially in terms of capital allocation, balance sheet optimization and how we choose to leverage resources and manage the company.”
The description triggered an obvious question by Vivek Arya of Bank America during the question and answer session, who asked about the implication of the wireless business being classified as a financial asset.
Tan responded, “Short term, nothing has changed.” He said Broadcom is still investing in the business and sustaining it.
Listen to Hock Tan’s description of Broadcom’s semiconductor segment, Vivek Arya’s question and Tan’s answer: