Updated from 11:18 a.m. with additional information.
Qualcomm's (QCOM) - Get Report on Tuesday gave shareholders of NXP Semiconductor (NXPI) - Get Report another month to weigh its $110 per share tender offer. The chipmaker needs at least 80% of NXP shareholders to accept its $47 billion acquisition, and so far only about 17.2% of NXP's outstanding shares have been tendered, Qualcomm noted in a press release.
The initial deadline of March 7 has now been extended to April 4, with further extensions possible as well.
While the extension may delay one milestone in closing the deal, the deal parties will still have to slog through a lengthy regulatory review in the U.S., the European Union, China, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan and the Philippines. Rival suitors have not materialized--perhaps because the deal is so large--which makes it unlikely that shareholders will have the option of choosing a sweeter bid.
Shares of NXP, which is a force in the Internet of Things and would diversify Qualcomm, were down a hair Tuesday at $103.70. Shares of Qualcomm rose slightly on Tuesday morning to $56.65.
Even if the deal falls apart, NXP could be worth more than $110 per share as a stand-alone company, said Jim Cramer, TheStreet's founder and manager of the Action Alerts PLUS portfolio, which owns NXPI. Still, Cramer said it is unlikely that the deal unwinds.
The price tag has limited Qualcomm's competition, Drexel Hamilton analyst Cody Agree said. "You probably don't have many competing suitors at a higher valuation," he said. "If you're a shareholder your options are pretty limited."
Tender offers can give buyers an easier path as they look to win shareholder approval. They do not involve the approval of a proxy firm such as Institutional Shareholder Services that can criticize a proposal. Investor also have an incentive to participate, because shareholders who do not accept the tender offer get paid later if a deal closes.
Even if shareholders give Qualcomm the go-ahead, regulators will subject it to scrutiny. The companies have said they do not expect to close the deal until late 2017.
Qualcomm has already drawn the attention of the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC sued Qualcomm for anti-competitive behavior in the cell phone market in January. Apple (AAPL) - Get Report has also sued Qualcomm for allegedly abusing its market power.
Despite the expectation for a lengthy review, Acree expects regulators to sign off on the purchase of NXP. "There is no lack of competition," he said of the fragmented chipmaking industry. "It's not like there is going to be a monopoly."
Semiconductor deals have triggered geopolitical sensitivity, however. The transaction would draw more scrutiny in the U.S. if the buyer were from, say, China rather than California.
China's Unisplendour Corp Ltd dropped a $3.78 billion investment in Western Digital (WDC) - Get Report last year that was tied to a purchase of SanDisk, and Fairchild Semiconductor spurned China Resources Microelectronics Ltd and Hua Capital Management Co Ltd because of concerns about regulatory approvals and financing. Arizona-based On Semiconductor (ON) - Get Report ultimately bought Fairchild.
Losing NXP could be costly for Qualcomm. Pacific Crest values Qualcomm at $72 per share if the NXP deal closes, even after adjusting for lost business and royalties from the dispute with Apple. Without NXP, the valuation falls to $53 per share, below its current trading price.