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Qualcomm in wireless asset deals

December 05, 2006|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — Qualcomm Inc. said Monday that it was expanding its wireless semiconductor capabilities with the acquisitions of a company that develops Wi-Fi technology for laptops and hotspots, and a business that specializes in Bluetooth connections between mobile devices such as cellphones and headsets.

Qualcomm is paying an undisclosed amount to acquire all of Airgo Networks Inc. and $39 million to buy the majority of RF Micro Devices Inc.'s Bluetooth operations.

The deals are expected to close by the end of December. Qualcomm estimated that the two acquisitions would reduce earnings for the fiscal year ending September 2007 by a combined 4 cents a share, then boost profit modestly the following year.

Shares of Qualcomm rose $1.15, or 3.2%, to $37.50, while RF Micro rose 21 cents, or 2.8%, to $7.81.

Privately held Airgo, based in Palo Alto, makes chips based on multiple versions of the Wi-Fi standard, supplying them to makers of portable computers and wireless routers that connect PCs to the Internet.

Besides supporting that business, Qualcomm plans to integrate Airgo's technology into its own chip sets for cellphones and laptops. Qualcomm specializes in a cellular technology known as CDMA, or code division multiple access, which is used by many wireless carriers, and a related technology called EV-DO that provides high-speed Internet access to phones and laptops.

Wi-Fi and cellular technologies are often seen as complementary: The wide coverage of cellular allows users to log on in more places, but reception can be weak indoors, where a shorter-range Wi-Fi signal is often available.

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