Orange County Business Journal

Analyst: Broadcom Could Rival Qualcomm in Key Mobile Phone Chip

Michael Lyster Friday, May 27, 2011

Shares of Irvine-based chipmaker Broadcom Corp. were up Friday on bullish comments from an analyst about the company’s processor chips for mobile phones.

Broadcom’s stock was up 5% in midday New York trading to a market value of $19.5 billion.

An analyst at Arlington, Va.-based FBR Capital Markets Corp. kept an “outperform” rating on Broadcom shares and put the stock on FBR’s top picks list.

Broadcom eventually could become the second-largest provider of baseband chips, the brains of mobile phones.

The company now is a smaller, growing provider of baseband chips, which are dominated by San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc., Taiwan’s MediaTek Inc. and Dallas-based Texas Instruments Inc.

Broadcom saw “triple-digit” gains in baseband shipments last year with sales to Nokia Corp. and Samsung Group, according to market tracker Strategy Analytics of Massachusetts.

“Investors remain focused on wireless, specifically baseband growth opportunities,” the FBR analyst wrote in a note to clients. “In short, we believe Broadcom remains positioned to someday be the world’s second-largest baseband supplier.”

That would be a big jump for Broadcom, which also faces competition from Intel Corp. with its acquisition of the wireless chip business of Germany’s Infineon Technologies AG last year.

An industry push toward 4G—or fourth generation phones that allow for high-speed downloading of video and music and offer more processing power—“represents a large growth opportunity” for Broadcom in next few years, according to FBR.

To make room for Broadcom, FBR removed Irvine-based chipmaker Microsemi Corp. from its top picks list.