Qualcomm in on $3.2B buyout

Qualcomm Inc.,
the world’s largest maker of mobile-phone chips, agreed to buy Atheros Communications
. for about $3.2 billion in cash, broadening its lineup of Wi-Fi
networking technology.

investors will get $45 a share, Qualcomm said today in a statement. That’s 22
percent more than Santa Clara,
California-based Atheros’s closing price on Jan. 3, before reports about the
purchase emerged.

based in San Diego,
aims to nab a bigger piece of the Wi-Fi market and escalate competition with Broadcom Corp.
Qualcomm Chief Executive Officer Paul Jacobs said that Atheros will give him a sales
force and products tailored for consumer electronics and home networking,
helping the company expand beyond mobile phones.

“There’s an
opportunity for us to fan out our impact into other devices,” Jacobs said in a
telephone interview. “We’re getting a strong and successful sales channel into
a bunch of areas that we think are going to be important.”

Atheros shares
rose 52 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $44.52 at 11:11 a.m. New York time on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
They gained the most in almost five years yesterday after a New York Times
reported a deal was imminent. The stock added 4.9 percent last year. Qualcomm
rose $1.12, or 2.2 percent, to $52.09 today, the highest intraday price since
September 2008.