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August 13, 2012

Investors Want TI to Cut Wireless Investments

By Ashok Bindra, TMCnet Contributor

The latest data shows that investors at Texas Instruments (News - Alert) (TI) are concerned about the company’s wireless business. Shareholders of the company, which was once a cellphone chip leader, want TI to reduce its money-losing investment in wireless – or even exit the market. Meanwhile, according to International multimedia news agency Reuters (News - Alert), TI is already winding down its development of baseband chips that connect mobile phones to cellular networks. The report indicates that this process is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.

The report says that analysts are now asking TI to take similar steps toward its two remaining wireless businesses – the OMAP application processors – which support mobile features such as video, gaming and its wireless connectivity chips, which include short-range technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

In a statement, Stacy Rasgon, Bernstein Research analyst, explained, "I think most investors would like them to do something with it before it turns into baseband. The analyst added, “who questioned whether TI could have made money from exiting baseband if it had acted sooner.”

"Having the wireless business is hurting the stock," Rasgon told Reuters. The analyst sees the wireless business as a distraction from the core analog business, where TI is the market leader.

The report indicates that Rasgon is not alone in this analysis. Other TI investors would also like the company to focus its efforts on more promising analog and embedded chip business.

In fact, according to the Reuters report, Rasgon believes that TI should either restructure or sell its wireless business. While there are no obvious buyers, the Bernstein Research analyst thinks that phone makers such as LG Electronics (News - Alert) or Huawei Technologies could be potential buyers.

According to Reuters, TI posted its operating loss for its wireless business in the first and second quarters, which accounts for about 10 percent of TI's revenue.

Likewise, Charter Equity Research analyst Ed Snyder said, "If we don't see appreciable growth in the next year or so you'll probably see them pulling out."

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Edited by Allison Boccamazzo
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