Options traders appear to be betting that a big tech deal will fall apart.
Shares of NXP Semiconductors jumped in October after Qualcomm agreed to buy the company, and the stock has recently risen above the $110 per share bid price. While the stock has risen this week, sentiment in the options market was bearish on Thursday, according to Mike Khouw of Optimize Advisors.
"We saw four times the average daily put volume," Khouw said Thursday on CNBC's "Fast Money. "
Over the course of the day, about 10,000 of the January 87.5-puts were purchased for 50 cents or so each, according to Khouw. This means that options traders are betting that shares of NXP will close below $87 by January expiration — a nearly 23 percent drop from Friday's trading price.
NXP is "obviously doing well, trading above the $110 cash price," Khouw said. "Now remember that stock was trading at around $82 before that deal was announced so somebody might be betting that [the deal] falls through."
To be sure, the buyers of these options may not be placing an outright bet; it could be that they own the stock and are simply purchasing protection.
The deal has yet to be finalized, but analysts generally expect to see it go through.
"[W]e believe the Qualcomm acquisition of NXP for $110/share in cash remains on track to close. … We maintain our HOLD rating and $110 price target at the current deal price," Canaccord Genuity analyst Matthew Ramsay wrote in an Aug. 25 note.
Shares of NXP Semiconductors was trading around $113 on Friday afternoon.