News Archive

U.S. government to accept metals tariffs exclusion requests from Monday

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Commerce Department said it will begin accepting requests on Monday for product exclusions from President Donald Trump’s new steel and aluminum import tariffs, but it could take up to 90 days for the agency to make determinations.

In a notice published on Saturday on the Federal Register website, the Commerce Department said the effective date would be March 19 for its rules and procedures for the requests.

The agency said it anticipates that it will receive some 4,500 requests from U.S. businesses seeking exclusions for imported steel and aluminum products that are not available in sufficient quantity or quality from U.S. manufacturers.

But even if these are granted, companies could be forced to pay higher costs due to tariffs on their imported products for up to three months. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been directed to begin collecting the 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum at 12:01 a.m. (0401 GMT) on March 23.

Reuters first reported on the Commerce Department rules and procedures from a draft document seen on Friday. The published notice matches the draft, with the effective date filled in.

The final notice can be seen: here

Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Alistair Bell

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‘Exhausted’ Toys ‘R’ Us suppliers weigh options as huge retailer shuts

CHICAGO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – When Toys ‘R’ Us secured a $3.1 billion bankruptcy loan in September, toy makers were reassured they would be paid for goods delivered to the company as it tried to emerge from Chapter 11.

Now those payments are at risk in a dramatic turn of events as the iconic toy retailer speeds toward U.S. liquidation.

More than a dozen executives, specialists and lawyers interviewed by Reuters said they expected many small vendors to go bankrupt due to the disappearance of Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us in the United States.

While the downfall of Toys ‘R’ Us came quickly in the United States, the Wayne, New Jersey-based retailer is still trying to find a buyer for its businesses in Canada, Europe and Asia. In the meantime, it wants to keep stores stocked to maintain customers and value.

“We have a $14-$15 million payment due that hasn’t been paid,” Isaac Larian, chief executive of Bratz dolls maker MGA Entertainment, said. “If I was a guessing man, I wouldn’t think I’d get all of it back.”

MGA, whose L.O.L. Surprise! toys were the industry’s top seller last year, stopped supplying goods to Toys ‘R’ Us on Wednesday, Larian said. Toys ‘R’ Us accounted for 15 percent of MGA’s annual sales. Larian spent Thursday and Friday on the phone with his lawyers and tending to a bid he and other vendors have made to acquire Toys ‘R’ Us’ Canadian operations.

“I have been working from 4 a.m. till midnight every day on this talking to other toy company executives, lawyers, bankers, other retailers,” Larian said. “I’m exhausted.”

At a Thursday hearing at U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Richmond, Virginia, vendor lawyers said they were receiving hourly calls from clients about hundreds of millions of dollars of claims. Whether or not they receive payment will depend on the outcome of the liquidation proceedings.

For some, the writing for Toys ‘R’ Us had been on the wall. Marc Wagman, who heads insurance broker Gallagher’s (AJG.N) U.S. trade credit and political risk business, said credit insurers stopped covering Toys ‘R’ Us in the first and second quarters of 2017.

“Unfortunately, for a lot of these toy companies, Toys ‘R’ Us represented a means of testing consumer taste, a big retail opportunity and, for some, accounted for 20-40 percent of revenue. How that’s going to be replaced remains to be seen,” Wagman said.

Toys ‘R’ Us, with $11 billion in annual revenue and shops up to 50,000 square feet (4,600 square meters) in size, was the last major specialty toy retailer, a loss not only for small, innovative toy makers that relied on it as a showcase, but also for brands such as Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) that rolled out products with partner labels for blockbuster films like “Frozen” and some of the “Star Wars” series.


“I have a short-term concern about the loss of business, the loss of one of my best partners over many, many decades,” said Joseph Shamie, president of Delta Children, one of the chain’s biggest vendors of children’s furniture, with roughly 470 employees.

He has been selling to Toys ‘R’ Us for more than 40 years, since he was 19. “I’m losing a lot of business and in very quick, unmanaged amount of time.”

Shamie said his company will continue to supply products to Toys ‘R’ Us stores outside the United States, but that they are “watching closely.”

“I have to create opportunity so I can continue to employ the people I employ,” he said.

In a dire landscape that claimed 17 retail bankruptcies and more than 8,000 U.S. store closures last year alone, vendors are wising up on their customers’ financial health, paying close attention to online sales, new sources of revenue and, especially, liquidity.

Among those that could pick up toy market share: big-box retailers Walmart Inc (WMT.N) and Target Corp (TGT.N); chains such as JC Penney Co Inc (JCP.N), Kohls Corp (KSS.N) and Bed Bath Beyond (BBBY.O); drugstores like CVS Health Corp (CVS.N) and Rite Aid Corp (RAD.N); and discount outlets like Dollar General Corp (DG.N) or TJ Maxx (TJX.N).

“We’ll work really hard with folks like Walmart and Target to see if they can take up volume by year-end,” said Jay Foreman, chief executive of Basic Fun!, which sells Cake Pop Cuties and Poopeez as well as classics like Lite-Brite.

Foreman expects a 10 percent revenue hit from the loss of Toys ‘R’ Us.

He is also working with Inc (AMZN.O), which will become its second- or third-biggest account this year versus ninth in 2015, but said Amazon does not give minimum orders.

“They’ll put it online and say ‘we’ll see how it does.’”

Without mass distribution and a physical showcase, co-Chief Executive Nick Mowbray of toymaker Zuru Inc said innovations would become far riskier, leaving a dent in toy selection for customers.

“Doing business with a company in Chapter 11 was not supposed to be a ‘gotcha’ situation, but apparently in this case it was,” said Learning Resources Inc Chief Executive Rick Woldenberg. His Vernon Hills, Illinois, company is owed more than $1 million by Toys ‘R’ Us.

He said his company will no longer supply to Toys ‘R’ Us. “I don’t know how many times they think we can be punished.”

Additional reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Del.; Writing by Tracy Rucinski; Editing by Vanessa O’Connell Nick Zieminski

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Daimler cars unit invests to ramp up output to 3 million vehicles

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Germany’ Daimler (DAIGn.DE) is in a push to boost production capacity as its Mercedes-Benz Cars unit eyes annual sales of 3 million vehicles, up from 2.4 million last year, an executive told weekly publication Automobilwoche.

“The sites in our global production network are running at high utilization rates,” Markus Schaefer, board member in charge of manufacturing and procurement at Mercedes-Benz Cars, was quoted as saying.

“That’s why we are expanding our capacities according to market demand and are moving towards 3 million units.”

Another element in the plan is an increase in the number of Mercedes-Benz models to 40.

By the end of the decade three new production sites will come on stream: compact models will be assembled in Aguascalientes, Mexico from the third quarter of this year; a new site in Kecskemet, Hungary, will be built by end-2019; and the company is planning to add a second site in Beijing, Automobilwoche said.

Total investment in these projects amounts to 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion), it added.

The German automaker said last month that an expected rise in unit sales and revenue in 2018 will be countered by spending on new cars and technologies, forecasting earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) at a similar level as 2017.

Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by David Holmes

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U.S. probes air bag failures in deadly Hyundai, Kia car crashes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said on Saturday it is opening a probe into why some air bags failed to deploy in Hyundai and Kia vehicles after crashes in which four people were reportedly killed and another six injured.

The agency said it was reviewing 425,000 2012-2013 Kia Forte and 2011 Hyundai Sonata cars. It also said it will determine if any other manufacturers used similar air bag control units and if they posed a safety risk.

Hyundai Motor Co issued a recall last month for 154,753 U.S. Sonatas after non-deployment reports were linked to electrical overstress in the air bag control unit, but said it did not have a final fix yet.

Hyundai spokesman Jim Trainor said the South Korean automaker is aware of reports of two deaths in its vehicles, which he said occurred in head-on collisions at extremely high rates of speed. Trainor said the automaker is working with the NHTSA in the investigation, and that it has not seen any issues with any vehicle apart from the 2011 Sonata.

“We are working on getting the fix as fast we can,” Trainor said.

NHTSA, which announced the start of the probe in documents posted on a government website, said it was aware of six crashes in which six people were injured when air bags failed to deploy in frontal crashes, including four in 2011 Hyundai Sonatas and two in 2012 and 2013 Kia Fortes. The 2013 Forte crash occurred in Canada.

The agency said the air bag control module was built by ZF Friedrichshafen-TRW, a German auto supplier that acquired TRW Automotive Holdings Corp in 2015. A ZF spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday.

Kia Motors Corp did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

NHTSA said it believed that the 2012-2013 Forte cars also use similar air bag control units supplied by ZF-TRW.

The agency also said that electrical overstress appeared to be the root cause in a 2016 recall by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of 1.4 million U.S. vehicles for air bag non-deployments in significant frontal crashes.

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Bill Trott and Paul Simao

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Product exclusions from U.S. metals tariffs may take 90 days: document

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Steel and aluminum users that depend on imported products not available from U.S. producers may have to wait up to 90 days for an exclusion from the Trump administration’s new metals tariffs, according to a Commerce Department document.

The draft Federal Register notice, which is expected to be published later on Friday evening and was seen by Reuters, outlines procedures for companies to seek such exclusions.

The review period for such requests “normally will not exceed 90 days, including adjudication of objections submitted on exclusion requests,” it said.

The exclusion rules have been anxiously awaited by manufacturing companies since President Donald Trump announced the tariffs on March 7 to protect domestic steel and aluminum producers on national security grounds. U.S. allies, however, remain in the dark about country-specific exemptions.

A Commerce Department spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for additional details.

But steel- and aluminum-consuming industries that must import products, such as the high-strength steel rod used to make tire belts that is currently unavailable from U.S. steelmakers, may end up paying tariffs for a considerable period before being granted an exclusion.

The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is expected to begin collecting the tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum at 12:01 a.m. (0401 GMT) on March 23, as determined in Trump’s proclamations.

“The request should clearly identify, and provide support for, the basis upon which the exclusion is sought,” the Commerce Department said in the notice. “An exclusion will only be granted if an article is not produced in the United States in a sufficient and reasonably available amount, is not produced in the United States in a satisfactory quality, or for a specific national security consideration.”

The Commerce Department notice said it estimated that about 4,500 individual requests would be filed for exclusions from steel and aluminum tariffs and about 1,500 of these would draw objections from interested parties.

The agency, led by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, an architect of the tariffs and a former steel industry investor, also said it would waive the normal 60-day comment period for the exclusions regulations because this would cause delays that would be “impracticable or contrary to the public interest.”


A spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office declined on Friday to provide any details regarding the process U.S. allies to request country exemptions from the tariffs.

Britain’s trade minister, Liam Fox, told Reuters in New York that he was optimistic about a positive resolution to a tariff exemption, despite the closest U.S. security ally’s dissatisfaction with the plan.

The European Union is seeking an exemption for all 28 of its member countries. And a Japanese embassy spokesman said Foreign Minister Taro Kono asked USTR officials for an exemption in meetings this week.

The steel tariffs also come as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is finalizing a package of trade sanctions on China over its intellectual property practices as part of a separate investigation.

Reuters reported this week that Trump was considering tariffs of up to $60 billion on imports of Chinese information technology, telecoms and consumer products, a move that U.S. business groups say risks a damaging trade war with Beijing.

Lighthizer is due to testify before trade committees in Congress next Wednesday and Thursday to explain the Trump administration’s trade agenda.

Reporting by David Lawder, additional reporting by David Brunnstrom, Ginger Gibson and Steve Holland in Washington and Kate Duguid in New York; editing by Diane Craft and Leslie Adler

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Wall Street’s tech love affair might end in tears

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Outsized returns delivered by (AMZN.O), Netflix (NFLX.O) and other heavyweight technology stocks have made them heroes on Wall Street, but some strategists warn that investors’ reliance on them exacerbates the risk of a steep downturn.

Amazon’s 35 percent surge in 2018 has pushed its market capitalization up to $770 billion, equivalent to 3 percent of the SP 500 and close behind Apple’s nearly 4 percent share of the index.

Apple (AAPL.O), Facebook (FB.O), Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet (GOOGL.O) have grown their collective market value by more than 40 percent in the past year to $3 trillion, and they now account for a quarter of the Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC.

(For a graphic on how FANG + Apple now accounts for a quarter of the Nasdaq click

Technology stocks have been widely viewed in recent months as a “crowded trade,” a situation where most investors have the same opinion, increasing the potential for a volatile selloff if sentiment changes.

“It’s a big momentum trade, investors don’t care if they’re paying 15 or 20 or even 50 times earnings,” said Mike O’Rourke, Chief Market Strategist at JonesTrading. “The problem is, once those names start giving up those gains, then the market starts to have problems.”

Investors have been attracted to those stocks for good reason: Amazon’s revenue ballooned 31 percent to $178 billion last year, while Netflix is expected by analysts on average to more than double its net income to $1.2 billion in 2018.

An expected interest rate hike by the U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday may not have a strong effect on technology companies, which generally rely less than other kinds of companies on debt.

The SP 500 information technology index .SPLRCT dipped by an average of 0.3 percent in the five-session period following the Fed’s four most recent rate hikes, in line with SP 500, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Investors nervous about how much longer a nine-year bull market can last have favored big tech names as among the most reliable on the stock market because their business models are often viewed as disruptive and less susceptible to economic downturns, at least over the long run.

The popularity of Amazon, which is pushing beyond online retail and cloud computing into supermarkets and even healthcare, has left it trading at 167 times expected earnings, up from around 100 a year ago, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream. By comparison, the SP 500 is trading at about 17 times expected earnings.

“If you ask anyone right now, if it’s a business owner they’ll say they’re afraid of Amazon. If they’re an investor, they’ll tell you Amazon is going up forever,” said Andrew Bodner, president of Double Diamond Investment Group in Parsippany, New Jersey.

“Overall, it creates more volatility for the market because everyone owns Amazon, and if Amazon goes down you’ll see that reflected,” Bodner said.

Investors’ increased reliance on passively managed index funds has also contributed to the rally in technology shares because the companies’ inclusion in the SP 500 and other indexes means money will be poured into them even if they have expensive earnings multiples, O’Rourke said.

Momentum for some major technology stocks is already showing signs of moderation. Facebook has fallen 5 percent after hitting a record high at the start of February, with some investors worried that people are spending less time on the social media platform.

Posing a potential threat to the rally, the SP 500 technology index is trading at a relatively expensive 18.8 times expected earnings, 12 percent above its 15-year average, according to Thomson Reuters Datastream.

(Graphic: Tech earnings multiples far above average –

While SP 500 information technology earnings per share are expected to grow by a healthy 17.5 percent this year, that’s less than last year’s 20.8 percent surge and lower than the 19.5 percent earnings expansion expected for the entire SP 500, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Technology companies may be benefiting more modestly than others from corporate tax cuts enacted this year, according to CFRA investment strategist Lindsey Bell.

Even as the SP 500 wavered over worries that President Donald Trump might spark a trade war, the Nasdaq on Monday closed at a record high, more than bouncing back from a deep selloff across Wall Street only a month ago.

“People are going with what works, and if tech was working before the shakeout in February, then they’re going to stay in it,” said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.

Reporting by Noel Randewich; Editing by Alden Bentley

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Microsoft hits back at claims it ignored sexual harassment

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – A senior executive said Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) thoroughly investigates issues raised by women in the workplace and fired about 20 employees last year over complaints of sexual harassment as the company seeks to counter claims that it treats female workers unfairly.

In an email to employees publicly released late on Thursday, Microsoft Chief People Officer Kathleen Hogan said Microsoft had 83 harassment complaints in 2017 out of a U.S.-based workforce of over 65,000 employees.

Nearly 50 percent were found to be supported at least in part following an investigation, she said, and more than half of those resulted in the termination of an employee who engaged in unacceptable behavior.

The unusual publication of such data comes as the world’s largest software company is defending a lawsuit which alleges it systematically denied pay raises or promotions to women. Microsoft denies it has ever had such a policy.

The lawsuit, filed in Seattle federal court in 2015, is attracting wider attention after a series of powerful men have left or been fired from their jobs in entertainment, the media and politics for sexual misconduct.

Microsoft also investigated 84 complaints of gender discrimination last year, Hogan said, and found around 10 percent of those to be supported at least in part.

Earlier this week, Reuters reported on the contents of unsealed court documents which showed that out of 118 gender discrimination complaints filed by women in U.S.-based technical jobs at Microsoft between 2010 and 2016, only one was deemed “founded” by the company.

Attorneys for the women described the number of complaints as “shocking” in the court filings, and said the response by Microsoft’s investigations team was “lackluster.”

Hogan’s email on Thursday linked to the Reuters story and said the numbers cited by plaintiffs were misleading.

“Reports that we rarely reach a conclusion in favor of the complainant are based on a faulty reading of a partial data set,” Hogan wrote.

Hogan’s email did not provide additional figures about the time period cited in the court documents.

The plaintiffs based their numbers on documents disclosed by Microsoft during pre-trial discovery in the lawsuit. Kelly Dermody, an attorney for the plaintiffs, declined to comment on Hogan’s email.

Alaina Percival, chief executive of Women Who Code, an organization that helps companies increase their number of women developers, said publicly releasing this kind of data can help businesses learn from each other about the best ways to handle sexual harassment and gender discrimination.

“I think other tech companies should follow suit, and I would expect to see that happen,” Percival said.

Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Bill Rigby

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Boeing moves to keep 777X on track after engine snag

SEATTLE (Reuters) – Boeing Co (BA.N) has scrambled to reorganize testing of its new 777X to avoid being delayed by engine snags, while robots and mechanics are starting work on the fuselage, the executive who heads efforts to build the world’s largest twin-engined jet said in an interview.

Engine supplier General Electric (GE.N) began flight trials of its new GE9X jet engine on Tuesday after a three-month delay caused mainly by a problem in its compressor. But to put the engine development back on track it must build a new component.

During that time, Boeing will place two temporary engines on the first flight-test aircraft that is gradually beginning to take shape, starting with its lightweight carbon wings and now the fuselage, which Boeing says is on schedule.

The engines, identical in every other respect to the ones that will go into service, will be swapped for fresh ones with the new part before the first 777X carries out its maiden flight next year. The temporary engines will not be fired up, but having them in place will allow other tests to go ahead.

“Honestly, when this happened I thought ‘this is going to be bad’ and we just kept grinding and grinding at it, and we came up with some pretty creative things to test where we could, build where we could,” 777X Vice President and General Manager Eric Lindblad told Reuters.

“To put engines on and then take them off – that is all to protect the schedule,” Lindblad said.

The hurried rejig reflects the fact that after years of planning, production has begun in earnest – something evident from activity inside Boeing’s new high-tech wing center.

“We are at the point where it is time to start scaling up the speed that we build things here,” Lindblad said inside the 1.3 million-square-foot (120,800-square-meter) fabrication plant where machines weave and bake major parts of the carbon wings.

The engine swap is also an example of how Boeing is trying to avoid eating into the ‘buffer’ traditionally built into development schedules. That’s because it faces a challenging two years before the latest version of its 777 enters service.

“We are now in the thick of it … There is no more waiting until later to solve problems,” Lindblad said. “There are still two years left. You cannot give away your buffer.”

The 777X aims to maintain Boeing’s grip on the ‘mini-jumbo’ market by leapfrogging Airbus SE’s (AIR.PA) 365-seat A350-1000. Boeing has sold over 300 jets, though activity has slowed.


So far, Boeing says it is on track to meet a 2020 target for delivering the first 406-seat 777-9 model to Emirates Airline.

But although the engine snag marks the first significant public slippage, Boeing has already faced a number of teething problems in building carbon wings and other components.

“Everything is hard at this point where you start building an airplane. When you ask me how wing assembly has been going, it’s been hard,” Lindblad said.

One of the problems involves fitting the carbon panels to the skeleton of spars and ribs, with the light but strong carbon-fiber material less forgiving than traditional aluminum.

“Assuming we continue to march our way through the plan that we have laid out, I feel pretty optimistic about (the engine) and I think that wing assembly is a matter of incorporating the learnings,” Lindblad said.

Six months ago, Lindblad says something else was making him feel “queasy”. Integration of aircraft systems in a special demonstration lab was not happening as quickly as planned.

“I am more optimistic today,” he said. He added that he would be “cautiously guarded” until the first flight, due in the first quarter of 2019.

Another headache has been producing enough wing stringers: reinforcing strips that go outwards from the fuselage.

“I feel confident we have got a plan for that so we are tracking basically back to schedule.”

Now Boeing must marry together the various wing parts and produce the long metallic fuselage.

Fuselage panels arriving from Japan have been loaded into a “Fuselage Automated Upright Build” (FAUB) machine used to fasten them. Boeing had delays when the machine was tried out on existing versions of the 777, but Boeing says the system is now running at full speed of five planes a month.

Drawing on experience of the smaller 737 MAX, which has absorbed production increases on a larger scale, Lindblad said the 777X production system had been set up to handle a targeted speed but would not disclose capacity.

“We are planning for world demand,” he said.

The first task is to get flight trials under way so that ambitious fuel-saving goals can be tested.

“Will we get four airplanes in the flight test on schedule? We’ll see. I think we have a pretty good shot at it.”

Reporting by Tim Hepher in Seattle; editing by Grant McCool

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Former Qualcomm chairman Jacobs to exit board of directors

(Reuters) – Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) on Friday said former executive chairman Paul Jacobs would not be renominated for the U.S. semiconductor company’s board after Jacobs disclosed his intention to pursue a long-shot acquisition of the firm.

Jacobs, the former chief executive of the world’s largest mobile chipmaker and the son of its co-founder, said in a separate statement that it was “unfortunate and disappointing” that his fellow board members were “attempting to remove me from the board at this time.”

The board decision comes just days after U.S. President Donald Trump blocked a $117 billion hostile bid from Singapore-based rival Broadcom Ltd (AVGO.O) to acquire Qualcomm, citing national security concerns.

Jacobs supported Qualcomm’s resistance to Broadcom’s bid, but he increasingly clashed with other members of the San Diego-based company’s board, including Chief Executive Steve Mollenkopf, over how Qualcomm defended itself, according to people familiar with the matter.

Qualcomm said in a statement that its board of directors met on Friday and decided that Jacobs would not be nominated for re-election at its annual meeting on March 23, and that the board would shrink to 10 members from 11.

The company did not give specific reasons for the decision but said it wanted to stay independent and continue with its business plans. Mollenkopf has outlined a plan to cut more than $1 billion in costs and boost profits to more than $7 per share by 2019 by resolving disputes with customers such as Apple (AAPL.O).

In his statement, Jacobs said he believed that Qualcomm could strengthen itself in the global chip business by going private.

“There are clear merits to exploring a path to take the company private in order to maximize the company’s long-term performance, deliver superior value to all stockholders, and bolster a critical contributor to American technology,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs’ attempt this week to put together an offer to acquire Qualcomm by reaching out to investment firms including SoftBank Group Corp’s (9984.T) Vision Fund was a result of his disaffection, the sources said. The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential.

Qualcomm shares rose less than 1 percent to $61.15 in after hours trading following the decision on Friday, giving the company a market capitalization of around $90 billion.

Without an existing company as acquirer, Jacobs is attempting to put together the largest leveraged buyout of all time, three times as large as the 2007 $45 billion buyout of Texas power utility Energy Future Holdings, which ended in bankruptcy.

Jacobs holds about 1.3 million shares of Qualcomm, less than 0.1 percent of outstanding shares, according to Qualcomm’s security filings.

Even if SoftBank, a Japanese telecommunications group with technology investments around the world, wanted to join Jacobs’ bid, it could face conflicts given its ownership of British chip designer ARM Holdings Plc, sources said on Thursday.

Given that Qualcomm’s board director slate faces no competition, the re-election of Qualcomm’s nominees is assured. However, limited support for Qualcomm’s directors could put pressure on Mollenkopf.

Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New Orleans; additional reporting by Steve Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Peter Henderson and Rosalba O’Brien

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