Paul Jacobs said to be making progress in funding Qualcomm bid

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(Bloomberg) -- Paul Jacobs, the ousted chairman of Qualcomm Inc., is making progress in lining up enough funding to offer to take the chipmaker private, and could make the bid within a few months, according to a person familiar with his plans.

Jacobs, son of the company’s founder and a former chief executive officer, has received commitments giving the process momentum, the person said. He is talking with strategic investors, sovereign wealth funds and wealthy individuals to try to raise the funds and rates his chances of completing the deal at better than 50 percent, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private.

Qualcomm shares were up 2.9 percent to $56.80 during premarket trading in New York Friday.

Jacobs left the company following a failed hostile acquisition attempt by rival Broadcom Inc. The takeover effort exposed investor frustration with Qualcomm’s management and its inability to solve problems that have crimped earnings. Chief among those issues are legal and regulatory challenges to Qualcomm’s lucrative technology licensing unit, which may be better suited as part of a private company.

Taking control of San Diego-based Qualcomm won’t come cheap. Jacobs was part of a board that dismissed the $117 billion bid from Broadcom as undervaluing the company. That transaction would have been the largest ever in the technology industry and a deal that took Qualcomm private would dwarf any previous purchase of that type.

The effort to take the mobile-phone chipmaker private is an attempt to preserve the Jacobs family’s influence over the company they founded. Jacobs was chairman of Qualcomm from 2009 until last month and served as CEO from 2005 until 2014, taking over for his father, Irwin. He owns less than 0.5 percent of Qualcomm, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

There’s at least one example of a tech founder using a buyout to keep control of his company: In 2013, Michael Dell took the eponymous computer maker private in a $24.9 billion deal. Dell is now considering taking the company public again.

Bloomberg News