JANA Partners Winning At Qualcomm Inc (QCOM)

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Barry Rosenstein and JANA Partners seemingly got a win this week with Qualcomm, but is anything really a win with JANA these days?

We’ve covered the name pretty heavily via Activist Strategy in the past, being an “interesting” name. The stock is still in a downward spiral. Barry said [to some degree] some months ago, “don’t focus on the split thesis, it’s about the buybacks.”

The mass buybacks implemented have done little to support the stock. Now, we’re back to the split. Today Qualcomm is adding two JANA guys to the board and will further push its strategic review plan.

The plan is designed to look at cost cuts, upwards of $1.4 billion, and will do something about the gross share-based compensation that’s plagued the company’s share count in the past.

The big kicker of the plan is to look at its corporate structure, i.e. breaking up the two businesses. There are synergies with keeping the two companies together – again, something we’ve discussed in the past.

The plan is to continue throwing free cash (upwards of 75% that it generates) at shareholders to help prop the stock up until it figures out how to split up the business. You have to assume the price cuts and buybacks that have been touted for months are priced in.

The only thing going to move the stock [for better or worse] will be a split or meaningful turnaround in China.

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