This column was originally published on Oct. 28. On Nov. 3, reports emerged that Broadcom is prepping an unsolicited bid for Qualcomm, which led Qualcomm's shares (and valuation) to rise.

As the number of web-connected devices used by consumers and businesses keeps moving higher, chipmakers are benefiting not only from higher device shipments but from the total value of the chips going inside many wide-used devices moving higher. Here are a few of the chip firms that will benefit from the trend.

RF Chipmakers

For the past several years, makers of RF chips such as power amplifiers, filters and antenna switches have seen their mobile phone-related sales outgrow the phone market as each new generation of smartphone models require more, and more advanced, RF circuitry than its predecessor. 4G proliferation, the arrival of 4G standards supporting higher download speeds, the need to support more frequency bands and the spread of more advanced Wi-Fi radios that can send or receive data from several antennas at once have played roles.

But increasingly, a lot of the growth seen by RF firms is coming from markets other than mobile, as the number of Wi-Fi and/or mobile radios being placed inside things like cars, home electronics, industrial equipment and medical devices mushrooms. It also doesn't hurt that new types of web-connected devices -- think drones, home speakers, wearables, etc. -- keep arrive.

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In a couple of years, 5G network rollouts will act as a fresh catalyst for both of these trends. Both because it delivers a fresh dose of RF complexity for phones, and because 5G is being built from the ground up to efficiently support tons of web-connected devices.

Skyworks Solutions Inc.  (SWKS) and Qorvo Inc. (QRVO) are each close to being RF pure-plays. Each still depends heavily on sales to top-tier smartphone OEMs -- relatively speaking, Skyworks depends more on Apple Inc. (AAPL) , and Qorvo on Samsung -- but each has also been hungry to diversify. And both firms trade for less than 15 times this fiscal year's expected earnings.

Broadcom Ltd. has a booming RF business, in part due to the company's leading position in the market for FBAR filters, which are now used in large quantities within power amplifier modules going into high-end phones. And it's also a major supplier of Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connectivity chips. But it's far from a mobile and IoT pure-play: The company also depends heavily on sales of chips and components going into servers, storage arrays and networking/telecom equipment.

Qualcomm

Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM)  comes with a pair of risks attached. The company's very lucrative mobile patent-licensing business is entangled in disputes with Apple, an unnamed major licensee (possibly Samsung) and a slew of regulators that risk dinging its future royalty rates. And to pull off its planned acquisition of NXP Semiconductors NV (NXPI) , Qualcomm may ultimately have to add a few billion dollars to the deal's original $47 billion price, in order to satisfy disgruntled NXP shareholders.

Jim Cramer and the AAP team hold positions in Apple, Broadcom and NXP for their Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells AAPL, AVGO or NXPI? Learn more now.

But with Qualcomm now trading for just 12 times its fiscal 2016 (ended in Sep. 2016) earnings and due to get a large EPS boost from the NXP deal's closing (even at a slightly higher purchase price), a lot of this has been priced in. What might not be fully appreciated, however, is the extent to which Qualcomm's chip business -- long associated with mobile system-on-chips (SoCs) and modems -- is remaking itself into a top-tier supplier of processors, 4G modems, connectivity chips and RF chips for connected devices in general.

As it is, Qualcomm's chip division revenue from non-phone markets grew 40% in fiscal 2016 to $2.4 billion, or 16% of its total revenue. And with the company saying its chip revenue from "adjacent markets" -- that is, markets outside of mobile SoCs and modems -- was up 30% in the June quarter, those numbers should be higher for fiscal 2017.

Some of Qualcomm's adjacent-market growth comes from growing sales of complementary mobile products, such as Wi-Fi/Bluetooth chips and RF front ends. But much of it also stems from modem and connectivity chip design wins for other products, such as cars, notebooks and Wi-Fi access points. And going forward, Qualcomm's new Centriq server CPU line, together with notebook and AR/VR headset design wins for its Snapdragon SoCs, will provide fresh growth opportunities.

Meanwhile, the NXP deal will add more than $9 billion in revenue, the lion's share of which comes from products other than phones. NXP is the world's biggest automotive chipmaker; it obtained 41% of its Q3 revenue from cars, and supplies top automakers with microcontrollers, sensors, Ethernet chips, audio chips and much else. Pairing this product line with Qualcomm's offerings will yield a powerhouse in an auto chip market that's outgrowing the broader chip industry as cars become more intelligent, connected and electrified.

Likewise, there are synergies between NXP's Secure Connected Devices unit -- it accounts for about 30% of NXP's sales and supplies numerous chips for IoT devices, along with NFC and audio chips for phones. Provided Qualcomm does a good job of integrating NXP and makes some progress towards resolving its legal issues, the popular narrative surrounding the company could look very different a year from now.

Cypress Semiconductor

Some of the easy money has been made with Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (CY) ; its shares are up about 40% in 2017, and have more than doubled from their early-2016 lows. But shares still only trade for about 15 times their expected 2018 earnings after factoring net debt. And while Cypress still has healthy exposure to SRAM and NOR flash memory markets expected to see little to no growth, other parts of its business look much more promising.

Cypress is a major supplier of microcontrollers, sensors, memory chips and connectivity chips to the automotive market, and has been reporting strong design win momentum in fields such as instrument clusters, infotainment systems and driver-assistance systems. It's also seeing growing sales of microcontrollers and connectivity chips within the IoT hardware market, including smart home devices. In both of these realms, Cypress' 2016 purchase of Broadcom's IoT connectivity chip business is paying dividends.

While Cypress won't deliver eye-popping growth rates over the next several years, double-digit annual EPS growth looks quite achievable. And at current multiples, that should be enough to keep investors happy.

Taiwan Semiconductor

An investment in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSM) , estimated to have about a 50% share of the chip contract manufacturing (foundry) market, probably won't yield outsized returns in the coming years. But it does act as a low-risk play on many of the core trends set to drive the chip industry's growth in the coming years.

TSMC's client list almost reads like a Who's Who of major logic and connectivity chip developers that don't own their own manufacturing plants; Apple, Qualcomm, Broadcom, Nvidia, Xilinx and Taiwan's MediaTek are some of its biggest customers. The company's big investments in commercializing new manufacturing processes, together with its efforts to support a variety of memory, RF, sensor and analog chip technologies required by clients, has helped it steadily claim a larger and larger portion of global chip output.

The company's sales are expected to rise 8% this year to $32.4 billion, and 11% next year to $36.1 billion. And its valuation -- about 16 times expected 2018 EPS after factoring net cash -- remains pretty reasonable for a firm that pairs steady growth with a very dominant market position.

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Editors' pick: Originally published Oct. 28.

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