Former Qualcomm chairman Jacobs to exit board of directors

(Reuters) – Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O) on Friday said former executive chairman Paul Jacobs would not be renominated for the U.S. semiconductor company’s board after Jacobs disclosed his intention to pursue a long-shot acquisition of the firm.

FILE PHOTO: Paul Jacobs, Executive Chairman of Qualcomm attends the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland January 20, 2017. REUTERS/Ruben Sprich/File Photo

Jacobs, the former chief executive of the world’s largest mobile chipmaker and the son of its co-founder, said in a separate statement that it was “unfortunate and disappointing” that his fellow board members were “attempting to remove me from the board at this time.”

The board decision comes just days after U.S. President Donald Trump blocked a $117 billion hostile bid from Singapore-based rival Broadcom Ltd (AVGO.O) to acquire Qualcomm, citing national security concerns.

Jacobs supported Qualcomm’s resistance to Broadcom’s bid, but he increasingly clashed with other members of the San Diego-based company’s board, including Chief Executive Steve Mollenkopf, over how Qualcomm defended itself, according to people familiar with the matter.

Qualcomm said in a statement that its board of directors met on Friday and decided that Jacobs would not be nominated for re-election at its annual meeting on March 23, and that the board would shrink to 10 members from 11.

The company did not give specific reasons for the decision but said it wanted to stay independent and continue with its business plans. Mollenkopf has outlined a plan to cut more than $1 billion in costs and boost profits to more than $7 per share by 2019 by resolving disputes with customers such as Apple (AAPL.O).

In his statement, Jacobs said he believed that Qualcomm could strengthen itself in the global chip business by going private.

“There are clear merits to exploring a path to take the company private in order to maximize the company’s long-term performance, deliver superior value to all stockholders, and bolster a critical contributor to American technology,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs’ attempt this week to put together an offer to acquire Qualcomm by reaching out to investment firms including SoftBank Group Corp’s (9984.T) Vision Fund was a result of his disaffection, the sources said. The sources asked not to be identified because the deliberations are confidential.

Qualcomm shares rose less than 1 percent to $61.15 in after hours trading following the decision on Friday, giving the company a market capitalization of around $90 billion.

Without an existing company as acquirer, Jacobs is attempting to put together the largest leveraged buyout of all time, three times as large as the 2007 $45 billion buyout of Texas power utility Energy Future Holdings, which ended in bankruptcy.

Jacobs holds about 1.3 million shares of Qualcomm, less than 0.1 percent of outstanding shares, according to Qualcomm’s security filings.

Even if SoftBank, a Japanese telecommunications group with technology investments around the world, wanted to join Jacobs’ bid, it could face conflicts given its ownership of British chip designer ARM Holdings Plc, sources said on Thursday.

Given that Qualcomm’s board director slate faces no competition, the re-election of Qualcomm’s nominees is assured. However, limited support for Qualcomm’s directors could put pressure on Mollenkopf.

Reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New Orleans; additional reporting by Steve Nellis in San Francisco; Editing by Peter Henderson and Rosalba O’Brien

Hacker Adrian Lamo Has Died at 37

Hacker Adrian Lamo died at the age of 37, according a Facebook post from his father. “With great sadness and a broken heart I have to let know all of Adrian’s friends and acquaintances that he is dead. A bright mind and compassionate soul is gone, he was my beloved son,” Mario Lamo wrote in a post to the 2600: The Hacker Quarterly Facebook Group. The cause of death is not yet known, but a coroner in Sedgwick County, Kansas confirmed the news to ZDNet.

Lamo was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1981. In the mid 1990s, he volunteered for PlanetOut, a public media company that catered to the LGBTQ community. In 1998, he was appointed to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning Youth Task Force by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

Lamo first gained notoriety online in the early 2000s for hacking companies like Yahoo! and AOL, as well as The New York Times. In 2004, after accepting a plea bargain, Lamo was sentenced for hacking the newspaper, where he had added his name to an internal list of op-ed writers and racked up $300,000 in charges using the organization’s subscription to Lexis-Nexis, a pay-per-use search tool.

He was also known for tipping US government authorities about the actions of whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who was later sentenced to 35 years in prison for providing Wikileaks with 750,000 classified military cables. (President Barack Obama commuted Manning’s sentence in 2017.) In a 2013 interview with the Guardian, Lamo explained his decision to report Manning.

“There was no option to interdict just the documents and put him merely in touch with counseling. There was no way to be both kind to [Chelsea] and mindful of the potential for harm to people I had never known and would never know which the situation posed. The reader might think there was some more moderate choice that I overlooked but I looked closely, and no such choice existed,” Lamo said in the interview.

In a 2002 profile of Lamo, former WIRED editor Noah Shachtman detailed how the hacker lived out of a backpack, and accessed the internet using university libraries and Kinko’s laptop stations. The Colombian-American moved around frequently as a child. The extensive travel provided him a love of adventure. “If I didn’t have computers, I’d be exploring storm drains or mountain caves. Hell, I do, when I don’t have a line to the Net,” Lamo wrote in a Usenet group around 2002. “There have been times my laptop has been the only dry thing I owned.”

Shachtman’s 2002 profile closes with an apt moment:

“I’ve had a long day, a long month, and a long year,” he said at the end of a pre-dawn chat.

He follows that with an instant message: “Dream of a warm and safe place.”