Qualcomm Earnings Overshadowed by Massive Share Buyback

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Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) reported third fiscal quarter 2018 results after markets closed on Wednesday. The chipmaker posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.82 and revenues of $5.6 billion. In the third quarter of 2017, Qualcomm reported EPS of $0.58 on revenues of $5.4 billion. The consensus analysts’ estimates called for EPS of $0.71 and $5.19 billion in revenue.

Barring a last-minute lightning strike, the company’s offer to acquire NXP Semiconductors NV (NASDAQ: NXPI) will expire at the end of the day today and Qualcomm plans to use $30 billion of the $40 billion it planned to spend on the Netherlands-based chipmaker to buy back shares. Qualcomm is also on the hook for a $2 billion break-up fee if the deal falls through.

Even without the buyback boost, Qualcomm had a solid quarter. Net income rose 41% to $1.2 billion. Revenue rose 4% and operating cash flow rose to $2.1 billion.

Steve Mollenkopf, the company’s CEO, commented:

We reported results significantly above our prior expectations for our fiscal third quarter, driven by solid execution across the company, including very strong results in our licensing business. We intend to terminate our purchase agreement to acquire NXP when the agreement expires at the end of the day today, pending any new material developments. In addition, as previously indicated, upon termination of the agreement, we intend to pursue a stock repurchase program of up to $30 billion to deliver significant value to our stockholders.

During the quarter the company returned $911 million ($0.62 per share) to shareholders in the form of dividends and $1 billion in share repurchases.

In its outlook for its fourth fiscal quarter, Qualcomm guided revenues in a range of $5.1 to $5.9 billion compared with $5.9 billion actual in the fourth quarter a year ago. Adjusted EPS is forecast in a range of $0.75 to $0.85, compared with an actual total of $0.92 last year. Analysts were expecting fourth-quarter EPS of $0.76 on revenues of $5.44 billion.

Qualcomm did not provide full-year estimates, but analysts’ consensus full-year estimates call for EPS of $3.26 and revenues of $21.92 billion.

Shares closed at $59.42 Wednesday, up about 1% for the day. In the after-hours session, the stock traded down up about 4.8% at $62.30 in a 52-week range of $48.56 to $69.28. The consensus price target was $61.95 ahead of the report.

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