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Qualcomm Spends $1.15 Billion to Buy Joint Venture From TDK

Ian King

(Bloomberg) -- Qualcomm Inc. paid $1.15 billion to buy the rest of a partnership it had with Japan’s TDK Corp. The deal will help Qualcomm sell more chips for smartphones supporting the latest 5G wireless standard, the U.S. company said.

The two firms set up their RF360 Holdings partnership in 2016 to design radio frequency components. Qualcomm contributed cash and TDK spun off its design and manufacturing assets into the endeavor, which was 51% owned by the San Diego-based company.

Radio frequency components help convert radio waves into signals that semiconductors can turn into data. They are a crucial part of smartphones, and an important ingredient in a soup of chips and software that Qualcomm is concocting for makers of new 5G handsets.

Qualcomm is already the biggest maker of modems for phones and also provides many of the processors that run software in handsets. It’s trying to combine all these elements into a single offering for smartphone makers. Taking control of the RF joint venture will make the company a bigger competitor to Skyworks Solutions Inc., Qorvo Inc., Broadcom Inc. and other industry players.

Increasing mobile data speeds partly come from combining more bands of radio frequency. Modern smartphones access more than 50 bands, up from three in early data-capable phones more than a decade ago. That requires more complex RF components.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ian King in San Francisco at ianking@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Alistair Barr, Anne VanderMey

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