SAN FRANCISCO — Broadcom cut the amount it is offering to acquire rival Qualcomm by $4 billion, one day after Qualcomm increased its bid for NXP Semiconductors.

Broadcom Wednesday (Feb. 21) reduced its offer to $117 billion from $121 billion, saying Qualcomm's new bid for NXP — which was increased to $44 billion from $38 billion — transfers value from Qualcomm stockholders to NXP stockholders. Broadcom said its offer would revert to $121 billion if Qualcomm is unable to complete the acquisition of NXP.

Qualcomm issued a statement Wednesday that criticized the reduced offer, saying that Broadcom does not understand the value that the NXP acquisition would bring to Qualcomm. The company also stated that Broadcom is "well aware" that the original bid for NXP — made in October 2016 — was unlikely to win the approval of NXP shareholders, presumably because NXP's stock price has risen significantly in the 16 months since.

"Broadcom’s reduced proposal has made an inadequate offer even worse despite the clear increase in value to Qualcomm stockholders from providing certainty around the NXP acquisition," the statement read.

Qualcomm's board of directors earlier this week voted unanimously for a second time to reject Broadcom's $121 billion acquisition offer following the first meeting between representatives of the companies on the matter. But Qualcomm said at the time it would be willing to have further discussions.

The two companies are currently engaged in a proxy fight that may well decide the fate of the proposed acquisition. Broadcom has backed six candidates for seats on Qualcomm's 11-member board. If Broadcom's six candidates win board seats, it would create a voting block large enough to push the board to accept Broadcom's offer.

Qualcomm shareholders are scheduled to vote on board members at the company's annual meeting on March 6.

— Dylan McGrath is the editor-in-chief of EE Times.