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About Brocade Communications Systems LLC

Broadcom Inc. is a leading provider of communications and connectivity semiconductor devices. Its products are used in business and data center networking, home connectivity, set-top boxes, broadband access, telecommunications equipment, smartphones and base stations. Other applications are in factory automation, power generation, and alternative energy systems. Through its 2018 acquisition of CA, Broadcom offers software for operating large networks. In 2019, Broadcom agreed to buy Symantec's enterprise security business for about $10.7 billion. Overall, Broadcom has spent more than $30 billion on acquisitions in recent years. About half of the company's sales are to customers in China.

Operations

Broadcom operates through four segments: Wired Infrastructure, Wireless Communications, Enterprise Storage, and Industrial and Other. 

The Wired Infrastructure segment, more than 40% of revenue, provides semiconductors for the set-top-box and broadband access markets. The segment's products also manage the movement of data in data center, telecom, enterprise and small and medium business networking applications.

The Wireless Communications segment, about 30% of revenue, offers radio frequency (RF) semiconductors, connectivity devices, and custom touch controllers. Broadcom's wireless products can be found in mobile handsets and tablets.

The Enterprise Storage segment's products enable secure movement of data to and from host machines such as servers, personal computers, and storage devices to the underlying storage devices including hard disk drives and solid-state drives. The segment accounts for more than 20% of Broadcom's revenue. 

The Industrial & Other segment, about 5% of revenue, provides products for the general industrial and automotive markets. It also includes revenue from Broadcom's portfolio of more than 21,000 patents.

Broadcom outsources most of its manufacturing and test and assembly functions to third-party contractors.

Geographic Reach

Broadcom, based in San Jose, California, maintains design, product, and software development operations in the US, Asia, Europe, and Israel.

China is the largest revenue contributor, accounting for about half of the company's revenue. The US supplies about 15%, with other countries accounting for the remaining revenue.

Sales and Marketing

Broadcom sells to OEMs or their contract manufacturers, distributors, and end customers. Sales to distributors account for about 35% of sales. Direct sales to Foxconn Technology Group companies account for about 10% of revenue. Apple is Broadcom's biggest customer, accounting for about 25% of sales, made directly to Apple or through its suppliers, such as Foxconn. Broadcom's top five end customers, through all channels, account for more than 40% of its revenue.

Financial Performance

Broadcom's revenue has grown nearly 400% in recent years, boosted by the additional sales gained through the acquisitions of Brocade and CA.

In 2018 (ended November), Broadcom's sales rose 18% to $20.8 billion, up $3.2 billion from 2017. Contributing were sales of networking application-specific integrated circuit products, an increase in the company's wireless content in handsets, and the Brocade Fibre Channel Storage Area Network business. In the handset business, a major customer ramped up production later than usual, which pushed revenue into the first quarter of fiscal year 2018.

Broadcom reported net income of $12.2 billion in 2018 compared to $1.7 billion in 2017. While higher sales were a factor in the higher net income, the real difference was an income tax benefit of $8 billion due to the US Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The benefit was primarily non-cash.

Broadcom's coffers held $4.3 billion in cash in 2018 compared to $11.2 billion the previous year. In 2018, operating activities produced $8.9 billion, while investing activities used $4.6 billion and investing activities used $11.1 billion.

The company has substantial indebtedness of $17.5 billion, which could affect its ability to raise additional capital to fund operations or acquisitions as well as limit flexibility to react to changes in the economy or its business.

Strategy

Broadcom has turned itself into a technology conglomerate that offers semiconductors and software for networking and security. Starting with its own stable of processors for communications and connectivity, Broadcom added Brocade's data center networking processors in a 2017 acquisition. In 2018, Broadcom ventured into software with its acquisition of CA. Then, in 2019, Broadcom offered to buy the enterprise security portfolio of Symantec as well as the Symantec brand.

Broadcom believes it has assembled a company with a substantial revenue stream in its core semiconductor business, complemented by Brocade's chip products and software businesses that smooth out the volatility that might affect each business individually.

In the software business, Broadcom's strategy is to focus on existing customers and expand it relationships with them. More than 70% of CA's revenue come from its top 500 accounts and most of them are long-standing customers. To expand that business, Broadcom will offer software in a subscription model instead of perpetual licensing, which has more up-front costs. The move should ease the way for more business from its top customers and better compete against rival companies that offer subscription pricing.

About half of Broadcom's revenue comes from customers in China, which poses two threats. Business has slowed due to the trade war between the US and China and the tariffs placed on products from each country. In addition, the US government has restricted what US companies can sell to Huawei, one of Broadcom's biggest customers.

Mergers and Acquisitions

In 2019 Broadcom offered $10.7 billion to buy Symantec's enterprise cyber security business and its brand name. The deal was expected to close in 2019. As with its purchase of CA, the acquisition of Symantec would reduce Broadcom's semiconductor-related revenue volatility. Broadcom will also seek to cross-sell products to CA and Symantec customers.

Company Background

Henry Samueli and Henry Nicholas began their partnership at UCLA as professor and student, respectively, although the two had earlier worked together as product designers for technology specialist TRW's military integrated circuit operation. In 1991, Samueli and Nicholas founded Broadcom. The duo accepted no venture capital; they wanted to be able to offer head-turning amounts of stock options to potential employees.

Broadcom's pioneering chip efforts soon attracted the attention of larger companies. In 1993 Broadcom introduced an advanced chip for cable boxes that was chosen by Scientific-Atlanta (now part of Cisco Systems) for use in its pioneering interactive cable television trials for Time Warner. The company began shipping production quantities of its chips in 1994. Other early customers included Analog Devices, Intel, Rockwell, and the US Air Force.

Over the years, the company has added elements of other technology companies such as  AT&T/Bell Labs, Lucent, and Hewlett-Packard and Agilent. Other major deals brought in Avago Technologies, LSI, Brocade and CA Technologies.

Brocade Communications Systems LLC

130 HOLGER WAY
San Jose, CA 95134-1376
Phone: 1 (408) 333-8000

Stats

Employer Type: Privately Owned
Chief Information Officer: Ari Bose
President: Julie Harris
Principal Engineer: Bill Zhou
Employees (This Location): 800
Employees (All Locations): 5,272

Major Office Locations

San Jose, CA