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Elliott seeks help from UBS in boosting price of Qualcomm-NXP purchase

Elliott disclosed a 6% stake in Netherlands-based NXP in August..

Hedge fund Elliott Management Corp. has enlisted investment bank UBS Group AG for help in its effort to secure a higher price in Qualcomm Inc.’s planned purchase of NXP Semiconductors NV or bring in a new bidder, according to people familiar with the matter.

In October last year, Qualcomm QCOM, +14.28% agreed to buy NXP NXPI, -1.48% for $110 a share, or about $39 billion. Over a year later, the companies are still seeking regulatory approval for the deal around the world. Elliott, meanwhile, has been arguing that the price should be higher. That has helped push NXP shares well above the offer price; they traded just above $117 Thursday afternoon.

As part of its mandate, UBS UBS, -1.05% has sounded out other potential bidders for NXP and is helping to figure out the proper valuation for the Netherlands company, some of the people said. It is far from certain another bidder would step forward for such a large and complicated deal.

It is relatively unusual for major investment banks to agree to work for activists, given fears that by doing so they will alienate the corporate clients the investors target. UBS accepts activism mandates very selectively, said a person familiar with the matter. The bank chose to work on this one because it didn’t have any corporate conflicts, the person said.

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