Broadcom explores deal to buy Qualcomm

People crowd into the Qualcomm booth to view a series of new products during the annual Consumer Electronics Show

A Qualcomm representative declined comment. Broadcom's stock also rose on the report, adding $14.13 or 5.45% to $273.63.

Share value in Qualcomm is up almost 14 percent on the news.

Formerly known as Avago Technologies, Broadcom Limited was created previous year after Singapore-based Avago acquired Broadcom Corporation for $37 billion. The company already lists San Jose as a corporate co-headquarters. However, Apple may ditch Qualcomm altogether and develop future iPhone and iPad units that rely only on Intel modems, which would drastically affect Qualcomm's bottom line.

The saga kicked off almost a year ago, in January 2017, when Apple first filed a lawsuit against Qualcomm for allegedly abusing its market position to extract more money from hardware manufacturers. The Wall Street Journal quickly confirmed the news in its own report. Earlier this week, Qualcomm executives said the legal process would "proceed under the court's schedule", indicating no resolution soon.

At issue are the licensing fees that Qualcomm charges for patents that cover the basics of how mobile phone systems work. Apple contends Qualcomm is unfairly charging too much and illegally taking advantage of its market position in chips.

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This comes at a time when Qualcomm itself is trying to complete a $47 billion purchase of NXP Semiconductors.

Aside from the financial challenges of such a large deal, Broadcom may also encounter close regulatory scrutiny. Broadcom is also a major supplier to numerous same companies for Wi-Fi chips.

Based on 2016 revenue, the enlarged company would be the world's third-largest chipmaker behind Intel and Samsung Electronics.

A tie-up between the two chipmakers would be the latest in the semiconductor industry that has been rapidly consolidating as companies try to capture a big share of the fast-growing market for connected devices and connected cars.

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