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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

Broadcom CEO Hock Tan today will sit across the table from Qualcomm CEO Steven Mollenkopf, and offer him a $121 billion Valentine's Day gift. And Mollenkopf will smile politely, before uttering the phrase that has broken a million hearts: "That's all you got me?"

Bottom line: Broadcom is standing firm on $82 per share being its "best and final offer," and already has included a record $8 billion regulatory reverse termination fee, so it's unclear what other sweeteners Tan might suggest.

One possibility is that Tan will go the tough love route, telling Qualcomm that its stock sagged in a bull market due to mismanagement. Moreover, he might echo an argument made in Morning Consult by former FTC policy director David Balto, which is that antitrust regulators will jump at the chance to approve a deal that changes management at one of its perpetual problem children.

  • That said, Tan may be a tad too confident on the regulatory front. Here's what he said to CNBC earlier this week: "I’m a pretty frugal guy. You think I’d put up $8 billion if I thought there was any chance that [regulatory opposition] would happen?”
  • Perhaps Tan should place a call to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, who felt similarly about his 2011 deal for T-Mobile USA (which resulted in a $4 billion payout).

Much of the discussion could center on NXP, the Dutch chipmaker that Qualcomm previously agreed to buy for $47 billion.

Broadcom wants Qualcomm to finish the deal at that price or walk away. The latter is a more viable option, given that NXP shareholders want more and tax reform removes Qualcomm's incentive to buy a foreign company. But Qualcomm also could up its NXP offer by just a little bit, thus effectively poisoning Broadcom's bid.

Go deeper

5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.