Intel May Acquire Altera Now -- Is Qualcomm Next?

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- New reports suggest that Intel (INTC) is close to a more than $15 billion deal to buy Altera (ALTR). A standstill agreement between the companies ends Monday. 

The deal would bring together two companies with similar strengths, but it would not shore up Intel's weakness in serving the burgeoning mobile telecommunications industry. That may mean the company's ambitious CEO Brian Krzanich will be on the prowl for another acquisition.

It's hard to believe that Intel is still only about half the price that it reached in 2000. Like Microsoft (MSFT), Cisco (CSCO) and other big tech giants from that period, its stock was overbid then, and it has struggled to demonstrate how it's staying relevant.

Krzanich, who became CEO two years ago, is a well-regarded insider who has been looking to leave his mark on the company. Shares are up 47% since his appointment which is excellent. However, Intel lags the 59% gains of the Nasdaq over that period. The company is now worth $160 billion.

Buying Altera would be the biggest acquisition for the company yet. But it's also unlikely to be Krzanich's last deal.

So what's next for Intel, especially if it's going to beef up its mobile business? If its stock continues to hold up, and Intel still has enough cash, it can seek other Altera-sized deals. Or maybe it chases the new Avago Technologies (AVGO) with Broadcom (BRCM).

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