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Photo: VCG via Getty Images

As expected, Qualcomm plans to drop its long-running bid to buy rival NXP Semiconductors, instead spending up to $30 billion to buy back its own stock. The company announced the moves alongside a better-than-expected quarterly earnings report.

The bottom line: The deal, announced back in 2016, had been stalled awaiting Chinese regulatory approval. Qualcomm's latest tender offer had been slated to expire later this evening.

What they're saying: “We intend to terminate our purchase agreement to acquire NXP when the agreement expires at the end of the day today, pending any new material developments," Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said in a statement. "Upon termination of the agreement, we intend to pursue a stock repurchase program of up to $30 billion to deliver significant value to our stockholders.”

The deal's end means Qualcomm will owe a $2 billion breakup fee to NXP. CNBC reported earlier Wednesday that Qualcomm was likely to drop the NXP bid.

By the numbers: On the earnings front, Qualcomm reported per-share earnings of 82 cents, on revenue of $5.6 billion. Analysts were expecting earnings of 71 cents per share, on revenue of $5.2 billion, according to Zacks.

What's next: Even with a buyback, Qualcomm will be under pressure to show that it can grow its chip business significantly beyond its cell phone roots, while ideally also maintaining its licensing business.

Update: On its conference call, Qualcomm said it expects that Apple will exclusively use rivals' modem chips on the next iPhone as its licensing dispute with the company continues. Apple has used a mix of Intel and Qualcomm modems on past iPhones. (Qualcomm will still supply some modem chips for older iPhone models.)

Go deeper

10 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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