American semiconductor manufacturer QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) announced on Wednesday, December 10th that it was planning to lay off around 600 employees worldwide over the next few months. This reduction in force comes during a stretch of regulatory investigations into the firm’s business practices and weaker-than-expected guidance for 2015.
CNET gets Qualcomm scoop
A Qualcomm spokesperson that spoke to CNET Tuesday said nearly 300 employees would be terminated in California. The firm is headquartered in San Diego and has a number of other offices in the state. A “similar number” of international employees will also be laid off. As of September 30, Qualcomm had about 31,300 full-time, part-time and temporary employees, according to regulatory filings. The spokesperson could not specify how many full- or part-time employees would be laid off.
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“We regularly evaluate our businesses to determine where efficiencies can be obtained and priorities addressed,” the spokesperson noted in a statement. “On occasion, that requires we adjust the size or skill mix of our work teams in order to shrink or eliminate some projects and start and grow new projects.”
The spokesperson noted that the some employees may be moved to other areas of the company, while the rest will receive severance and transition packages. No details on which areas of QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM)’s business would be cut or expanded were available.
According to the spokesperson, the layoffs weren’t related to investigations into the company going on in China, the US and the European Union, saying instead the change is “focused on specific projects and programs and reflects current business priorities.
Tough year for Qualcomm
QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) has faced a number of challenges this year. Back in November 2013, the Chinese government announced an anti-monopoly investigation. And just last month, the firm disclosed two additional preliminary investigations into its business by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and EU regulators.
The Chinese investigation has become a major problem for Qualcomm. The investigation has emboldened several of its licensees to under-report their sales to the company, reducing royalty payments. That has hurt Qualcomm’s patent licensing business — which represents nearly two-thirds of earnings — and knocked down guidance for the new fiscal year. Of note, in the third quarter, licensing revenue decreased by 4.9% to $1.9 billion, but overall sales were up.
QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) execs have said they will be taking stronger actions next year to deal with the under-reporting, as they also work with Chinese authorities to resolve the ongoing investigation.