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Published on June 19, 2024
Qualcomm Proposes $75 Million Settlement in Shareholder Lawsuit over Alleged Anti-Competitive PracticesSource: Coolcaesar at en.wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In a turn of events concerning Qualcomm's long-standing legal disputes over its sales and licensing practices, the chipmaker has opted to make a $75 million concession to quell shareholder litigation, as per details reported by Reuters. The settlement, pending approval from U.S. District Judge Jinsook Ohta, marks a significant development following allegations that Qualcomm engaged in anti-competitive behavior, scandals that investors claimed inflated the company's stock price unjustly between February 2012 and January 2017.

According to the court filing, shareholders argued that Qualcomm's practices of bundling chip sales with technology licensing were willfully misrepresented as being separate operations, a move that not only skirted fair business practices but also managed to suppress competitive dynamics in the market. Qualcomm, along with former executives Paul Jacobs and Steven Mollenkopf, have consistently denied the wrongdoing, the motion for a preliminary settlement has been filed with the federal court in San Diego, The Register reports.

The proposed agreement implies restorative measures for Qualcomm's investors, especially after the company staunchly negated the Federal Trade Commission's and Apple's separate suits which accused it of monopolistic baseband processor market practices. Qualcomm's refutation of claims and the subsequent rebound of its stock, following a steep 13% drop post the Apple lawsuit, signifies a partial vindication, yet the settlement indicates an effort to close a contentious chapter in the company's history.

While Qualcomm's share price suffered in the wake of the legal scrutiny, it later climbed back, countering any substantial financial impairment to shareholders who retained their stakes through the ordeal, and Qualcomm's success in court, which saw previous competitive practice allegations quashed by the Ninth Circuit and the European General Court, played an instrumental role in this recovery, asserts the plaintiffs' motion for settlement approval. This settlement, if approved, will be the first time any US plaintiff "has achieved any recovery from Qualcomm in any of the proceedings related to the alleged anti-competitive conduct at issue", underlined The Register. A final Settlement Hearing is awaited on October 4, with all eyes set on Judge Ohta's decision.