S&P Global Ratings has placed its ratings on Qualcomm Inc. on CreditWatch with negative implications after the semiconductor manufacturer raised its offer for NXP Semiconductors NV to $127.50 per share from $110.00.
The new offer will raise the transaction value by about $6 billion and could result in a higher level of leverage than initially expected, S&P said. Leverage should decline to the near mid-2x range within two years of closing, compared to the initial estimate of less than 2x, it said.
S&P expects to lower its corporate credit rating on Qualcomm by one notch from A if the transaction closes. The rating agency said the higher offer and one remaining regulatory approval has raised the likelihood of closing.
The placement on CreditWatch is also based on the uncertainty around Qualcomm's overall business outlook due to ongoing disputes with Apple and an unnamed licensee and overall pressure on the company's technology licensing business, the rating agency said. Regulatory and legal risks have intensified in recent years against the backdrop of slow growth in the smartphone industry and a highly competitive environment, it said.
S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.