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Qualcomm Jumps on Dividend, Buyback Hike

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Qualcomm (QCOM) shares climbed in pre-market trading on Tuesday after the chip maker announced a 20% increase in its dividend and a $5 billion share repurchase hike.

Shares of the chipmaker rose 2.27% to $75.30 in pre-market trading.

The San Diego-based Qualcomm, which is a key provider of mobile device components, made the announcement ahead of its annual shareholders' meeting today. Qualcomm is increasing its quarterly dividend to 42 cents a share from 35 cents, effective March 26. The dividend increase will raise the company's annualized dividend payout to $1.68 per share of common stock.

Qualcomm's $5 billion share repurchase increase brings its current authorization to $7.8 billion.

"Consistent with our commitment of returning capital to our stockholders, we are pleased to increase our quarterly cash dividend and stock repurchase authorization," said Qualcomm Chairman CEO Paul Jacobs, in a statement. "Our business continues to generate strong operating cash flows driven by the global adoption of our advanced technologies, including 3G and 4G, enabling us to continue to invest in our strategic growth opportunities, while also returning capital to stockholders."

Jacobs added that Qualcomm has returned more than $28 billion to stockholders through a combination of stock repurchases and cash dividends since 2003.

Shares of the Samsung and Apple (AAPL) partner have risen more than 11% over the last 12 months, and were lifted by strong fourth-quarter results in January. The company recently acquired 1,400 granted and pending U.S. patents and 1,000 foreign patents from tech giant HP (HPQ). These include patents that HP acquired when it bought mobile device specialist Palm for $1 billion in 2010.

Qualcomm, however, faces a challenge in China, where it has come under pressure from a government regulator over its licensing fees and market dominance.

--Written by James Rogers in New York.

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