Former Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs is starting a new 5G company while still pursuing Qualcomm takeover

Key Points
  • Jacobs's new company, XCOM, will focus on 5G wireless technology but still doesn't have a business plan.
  • The new company won't end Jacobs plans to try to take Qualcomm private.
  • Jacobs is starting the new company with two former Qualcomm executives.
Paul Jacobs, executive chairman of Qualcomm Inc.
Misha Friedman | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Former Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs is starting a new company with two ex-Qualcomm executives that will focus on next-generation wireless technology.

The start-up engineering company, called XCOM, will invest and develop technologies to tackle important 5G problems, such as low latency and greater reliability. Jacobs is the new company's CEO and chairman and is joined by Derek Aberle, Qualcomm's former president who left the company last year, and Matthew Grob, who served as Qualcomm's chief technology officer from 2011 to 2017.

The new company doesn't interrupt Jacobs' plans to take Qualcomm private. Jacobs is working with Aberle to raise billions of dollars for a theoretical Qualcomm acquisition. Those efforts, while ongoing, have temporarily slowed as Qualcomm waits to see if it will get Chinese approval to acquire NXP.

"It's unclear where the take private plan will go or how long that will take," said Aberle in an interview. "But this is not an either/or. We are pursuing this new company and we have high expectations and confidence in the take-private plan."

Aberle said he didn't have anything to report on money raised to take Qualcomm private.

Jacobs may step down from Qualcomm board, says Dow Jones
Jacobs may step down from Qualcomm board, says Dow Jones

Jacobs, Aberle and Grob plan on hiring more people for XCOM in the coming months, said Aberle. They are toying with ideas to license proprietary 5G technology or provide software and designs to other companies to use in their semiconductors, he said. The company is still in such early stages that the executives don't yet have a fleshed out business model, he said.

"There's still a fair amount of work that needs to be done to prove out the applicability of 5G through various Internet of Things applications," Aberle said. "We feel we have some better ideas for how to do some of that stuff."

If the take-private does happen, the company's technology could be used in Qualcomm chips or the entity could be rolled into Qualcomm, Aberle said.

Jacobs' father, Irwin, was a co-founder of Qualcomm, and Paul Jacobs rose through the ranks to become CEO from 2005 through 2014. Qualcomm's board removed him in March as chairman after Jacobs informed them of his desire to take the company private, after Broadcom's unsolicited acquisition attempt was thwarted by the U.S. government.

Programming Note: For more on Qualcomm, watch CEO Steven Mollenkopf's interview on "Mad Money" tonight at 6 p.m. ET.