What: Shares of NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) gained 15% in October, according to data from S&P Capital IQ. The catalyst for this market-beating autumnal jaunt? Merger rumors in NVIDIA's neck of the semiconductor woods, even tough this particular chatter never involved NVIDIA itself.
So what: On Oct. 14, the rumor mill echoed with reports that Analog Devices (NASDAQ:ADI) might merge with fellow mixed-signal processor maker Maxim Integrated Products (NASDAQ:MXIM). NVIDIA rose 4% that day and never looked back. Shareholders seem excited about the idea of sector giants on the prowl for a deal in the "merger of equals" category.
Now what: Maxim and ADI never commented on those merger rumors, and the gossip has since moved on to pairing Maxim with even larger rival Texas Instruments (NASDAQ:TXN). That development hasn't negated NVIDIA's potential-merger boost at all, especially since the graphics processor specialist followed up with a strong third-quarter report near the start of November.
The chip market is awash in major mergers, and the time has never been more ripe for NVIDIA to define an exit strategy. In particular, I wouldn't be surprised to see Texas Instruments turning its sights away from Maxim due to broadly overlapping product portfolios, and take a closer look at NVIDIA. The overlaps would be far smaller here, making TI an instant contender in several parts of the mobile and automotive markets where NVIDIA has been eating TI's lunch in recent years.
Mind you, it's all just rumors at this point. Maxim hasn't found a final buyer yet, and nobody has even hinted at talking to NVIDIA's board of directors.
So NVIDIA's shareholders continue an inspiring ride that has seen share prices skyrocket 50% higher over the last six months. Maxim has only gained 24%, direct buyout rumors notwithstanding. Is NVIDIA going to Texas or Massachusetts in the near future, or perhaps nowhere at all? Grab a bag of popcorn and a comfy deck chair. We'll just have to wait and see.
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