Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Borqs Acquisition?

What to do with UTs cash? Well, there are rumors that UT is planning to acquire Borqs...

"Set up in September 2007, Borqs is a leading mobile software developer. It developed OPhone OS operating system for China Mobile Ltd. (SEHK: 0941 and NYSE: CHL)'s TD-SCDMA mobile phones, mobile Microsoft platform Mobile Widget, cloud computing platform Big Cloud, as well as mobile Internet application services Mobee."


The company has "denied it"...


The company had $241m in cash/short term securities at the end of Q3 2009. With $130m (from the building) and $48.5m (from new investors) coming in, that would put their cash at about $420m. Cash flow will be impacted from the completion of their restructuring and additional losses but it will still have sizable cash levels. Cash flow from India Phase I, II, II extension have yet to be fully collected so cash levels could be higher than what I projected in the last post.

So, what to do with it? Some have speculated vendor financing to drive revenue up. Some have mentioned it could be wasted on low margin contracts that would not do much for profitability. Despite its very slow transformation and recovery, the company has shown it is trying to address the gross margin situation by discarding low margin operations, even the handset making business in China (except for the iptv handsets). It has formed partnerships in South America and Europe in the last 6 months or so and have newer products (TN) that will improve margins. The outsourcing deal adds to this focus on margins. If the lower margin products (broadband mostly) get them market share and continue to serve their existing/future customers, and enable them to upsell future higher margins products, then that is a practical strategy. In any case, the management does seem to get this and the actions support it.

Now, with new cash, the company can be more aggressive in acquiring pieces to get them into higher margin sectors (software/services) or solidify their product offerings in mobile advertising, iptv, cable, convergence (Analysts believe that UTStarcom is aiming with IPTV to replicate the success it had several years ago with smart phones and that it will benefit from China's recent move to integrate the telecom, broadcast and Internet networks.).