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Palace Intrigue Is Outside The Walls of Qualcomm

For the first time since Qualcomm Inc.’s founding, a member of the Jacobs family is no longer at the helm of the San Diego-based chipmaking giant.

Former Chairman Paul Jacobs was ousted from the company’s board in March. Jacobs, son of co-founder Irwin Jacobs, and a former Qualcomm CEO, was not renominated after he explored taking the company private. He had been with the company for 28 years.

The year had gotten off to a rocky start for Qualcomm. The company rebuffed a $117 billion takeover bid from competitor Broadcom Ltd. that ultimately was halted through an executive order by President Donald Trump, due to concerns that the deal would give China the upper hand. Months later, China blocked Qualcomm’s attempt to acquire Netherlands-based NXP Semiconductors for $44 billion, which would have strengthened Qualcomm’s foray into connected cars.

Since then, Paul Jacobs has struck out on his own venture. In June, he launched XCOM, a company focused on the next generation of wireless technology, 5G. Paul Jacobs was able to recruit two former Qualcomm executives for his venture: former Qualcomm President Derek Aberle and former Chief Technology Officer Matthew Grob.

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However, that doesn’t mean Paul Jacobs has lost sight of his goal to take Qualcomm private. At Bloomberg’s Year Ahead conference in November, he said he was “prepared if an opportunity arises.”

If Paul Jacobs succeeds in finding a partner with an appetite to take Qualcomm private, XCOM could potentially be involved in that deal.

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