Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) today announced that it has reached a resolution with China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) regarding the NDRC’s investigation of Qualcomm under China’s Anti-Monopoly Law (AML). The NDRC has issued an Administrative Sanction Decision finding that Qualcomm has violated the AML. Qualcomm will not pursue further legal proceedings contesting the NDRC’s findings. Qualcomm has agreed to implement a rectification plan that modifies certain of its business practices in China and that fully satisfies the requirements of the NDRC’s order. Although Qualcomm is disappointed with the results of the investigation, it is pleased that the NDRC has reviewed and approved the Company’s rectification plan. The following are the key terms of the rectification plan:
- Qualcomm will offer licenses to its current 3G and 4G essential Chinese patents separately from licenses to its other patents and it will provide patent lists during the negotiation process. If Qualcomm seeks a cross license from a Chinese licensee as part of such offer, it will negotiate with the licensee in good faith and provide fair consideration for such rights.
- For licenses of Qualcomm’s 3G and 4G essential Chinese patents for branded devices sold for use in China, Qualcomm will charge royalties of 5% for 3G devices (including multimode 3G/4G devices) and 3.5% for 4G devices (including 3-mode LTE-TDD devices) that do not implement CDMA or WCDMA, in each case using a royalty base of 65% of the net selling price of the device.
- Qualcomm will give its existing licensees an opportunity to elect to take the new terms for sales of branded devices for use in China as of January 1, 2015.
- Qualcomm will not condition the sale of baseband chips on the chip customer signing a license agreement with terms that the NDRC found to be unreasonable or on the chip customer not challenging unreasonable terms in its license agreement. However, this does not require Qualcomm to sell chips to any entity that is not a Qualcomm licensee, and does not apply to a chip customer that refuses to report its sales of licensed devices as required by its patent license agreement.
In addition, the NDRC imposed a fine on the Company of 6.088 billion Chinese Yuan Renminbi (approximately $975 million at current exchange rates), which Qualcomm will not contest. Qualcomm will pay the fine on a timely basis as required by the NDRC.
“We are pleased that the investigation has concluded and believe that our licensing business is now well positioned to fully participate in China’s rapidly accelerating adoption of our 3G/4G technology,” said Derek Aberle, president of Qualcomm. “We appreciate the NDRC’s acknowledgment of the value and importance of Qualcomm’s technology and many contributions to China, and look forward to its future support of our business in China.”
“Qualcomm has played an important role in the success of the mobile and semiconductor industries in China for many years, and we look forward to building upon this foundation as we grow our investments, engagement and business in China,” said Steve Mollenkopf, CEO of Qualcomm. “We are pleased that the resolution has removed the uncertainty surrounding our business in China, and we will now focus our full attention and resources on supporting our customers and partners in China and pursuing the many opportunities ahead.”
Qualcomm is proud to have contributed extensively for many years to the growth and success of the mobile and semiconductor industries in China, and plans to continue to grow its investments and collaborations going forward, including with China’s mobile operators and handset and other device suppliers, and within the Chinese semiconductor sector. Some recent examples of these investments and support include:
- Providing extensive engineering assistance and support to China’s mobile operators in rolling out their 4G LTE networks in China.
- Working closely with Chinese handset manufacturers to build their businesses both inside and outside of China as they seek to become top global brands and leading global suppliers of smartphones.
- Expanding Qualcomm’s longstanding relationship with Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC), one of China’s largest and most advanced semiconductor foundries, which has led to SMIC’s major milestone of producing high-performance, low-power mobile processors using cutting-edge advanced 28nm technology.
- Creating a China-specific investment fund of $150 million to further the development of mobile and semiconductor technologies, including initial investments from the fund in five innovative Chinese companies.
Fiscal 2015 Guidance Update
Qualcomm is also updating its financial guidance for fiscal year ending September 27, 2015. The following estimates are based on our current business outlook:
- Revenues: estimated to be $26.3 billion to $28.0 billion compared to our prior guidance range of $26.0 billion to $28.0 billion.
- GAAP diluted earnings per share: estimated to be $3.56 to $3.76 (which includes an approximately $975 million charge, or $0.58 per share, related to the fine imposed by the NDRC), compared to our prior guidance range of $4.04 to $4.34.
- Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share: estimated to be $4.85 to $5.05 (which excludes the charge from the fine imposed by the NDRC), compared to our prior guidance range of $4.75 to $5.05.
Non-GAAP results exclude the QSI (Qualcomm Strategic Initiatives) segment and certain share-based compensation, acquisition-related items, tax items and other items. Beginning in the first quarter of fiscal 2015, we changed our methodology for reporting Non-GAAP results to exclude third-party acquisition and integration services costs and certain other items, which may include major restructuring and restructuring-related costs, goodwill and long-lived asset impairment charges and litigation settlements and/or damages. Detailed reconciliations between GAAP and Non-GAAP results and guidance are included within this news release.
The following table summarizes revenue and GAAP and Non-GAAP earnings per share (EPS) guidance for fiscal year 2015 based on the current business outlook.