Why Analysts See the Qualcomm/Apple News Even Better Than the Stock Pop Implies

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Qualcomm Inc. (NASDAQ: QCOM) shares saw a sizable gain in Tuesday’s session after it was announced that it had settled its long-running multibillion-dollar litigation with Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL). Analysts also were quick to jump in and give their two cents on Qualcomm and what is to come.

While the financial details about the litigation were not divulged, the settlement includes a payment by Apple to Qualcomm and a new six-year license agreement that became effective April 1 of this year. The six-year deal includes a two-year extension option and a “multiyear” chipset supply agreement.

A single slide posted at the Qualcomm website notes that Apple will pay royalties and make a one-time payment of unspecified size to Qualcomm. The two companies will drop and withdraw all litigation worldwide, including claims against Apple’s contract manufacturers. The driver of Qualcomm’s share price boost, however, was a single line: “Expect Incremental EPS of ~$2.00 as product shipments ramp.”

The company did not say, but the boost is likely a projection the full fiscal year. Qualcomm said it would provide further details on during its conference call on May 1.

Merrill Lynch maintained its Neutral rating on Qualcomm but raised its price objective to $71 from $60. The brokerage firm had this to say:

We view the settlement with Apple and subsequent news from Intel as positive for Qualcomm. The $2 estimated EPS contribution is unclear and we plan to delve into it once management provides additional details. We think the risk of changing the model to component-based licensing is muted now and going forward, the stock could start trading on its own fundamentals of strong semiconductor and licensing businesses.

CFRA raised Qualcomm to Buy from Hold and raised its price target to $90 from $60. The firm added:

We believe the settlement offers EPS upside to consensus estimates and multiple expansion ahead as it alleviates significant legal issues related to Qualcomm’s licensing business and provides greater stability for this higher-margin segment. Qualcomm also highlighted that it expects incremental EPS of about $2.00 as product shipments ramp. We note that the settlement includes an undisclosed payment from Apple to Qualcomm. We view Intel’s plan to exit the 5G modem business as a positive from a competitive basis.

Other analysts also weighed in:

  • JPMorgan upgraded Qualcomm to Overweight from Neutral and tacked on an $88 price target.
  • Stifel upgraded it to a Buy rating from Hold with a $100 price target.
  • Evercore ISI raised its Qualcomm rating to Outperform from In-Line, noting that the shares finally are investable again.
  • Raymond James maintained an Outperform rating and raised its price target to $85 from $65.
  • Cowen has an Outperform rating and raised its price target to $91 from $70.

Shares of Qualcomm were last seen up about 9% at $76.64 on Wednesday, in a 52-week range of $48.56 to $82.52. The consensus price target is $64.63.

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