Qualcomm is the global leader in wireless technology licensing and mobile device chipsets. Qualcomm has dominant market share in both businesses, and it uses the strong recurring cash flow from its licensing business to reinvest in its chipset business. The company owns intellectual property that defines many of the standards used for 3G and 4G wireless communication, which allows it to collect royalties from handset providers that license these ubiquitous standards. Qualcomm’s licensing business accounts for only a third of the company’s revenue, and it is often underappreciated. However, its licensing business has unusually high profitability and represents close to two-thirds of Qualcomm’s profits. The majority of the world’s mobile handset users are still using older 2G technology, which is not a focus area for Qualcomm, so when these customers upgrade to 3G and 4G, Qualcomm should be well positioned to enjoy robust incremental revenue. The company is also the leading provider of chipsets, which function as the brains for wireless devices. Qualcomm’s industry-leading product breadth and peer-leading R&D investment should drive the company’s chipset growth. We expect Qualcomm to earn over $4.50 per share in a couple of years, and after adjusting for $20/share of cash, this high-quality business is priced at a forward P/E of just 11x.
From Bill Nygren's Oakmark Fund third quarter 2013 commentary.