Broadcom CEO Scott McGregor stands in front of the company's logo in Taipei
Oppenheimer has upgraded shares of Broadcom citing strong growth profile, management's stated efforts to pursue profitable growth, a more disciplined operating expense and compensation strategy. Reuters

Oppenheimer has upgraded shares of Broadcom Corp. (NASDAQ: BRCM) to outperform from perform citing strong growth profile, management's stated efforts to pursue profitable growth, a more disciplined operating expense and compensation strategy.

The semiconductor company's shares are off 19 percent from January highs presenting a window of opportunity for investors to build positions in one of the few remaining large-cap semiconductor growth stories, the brokerage said.

In addition, market expansion through acquisition and organic growth has driven Broadcom's served addressable market (SAM) from $25 billion in 2006 to $35 billion in 2010 and with penetration below 20 percent, plenty of runway remains.

With secular growth in mobile & wireless (M&W) and share gains in broadband (BB) layered with steady networking growth, we view BRCM as one of the best-positioned large-cap semi names and a core holding for growth investors, analyst Rick Schafer wrote in a note to clients.

We believe the recent pullback below $40 provides an attractive entry point too good to pass up, Schafer said.

With lackluster first quarter outlook providing a reality check for estimates, the analyst believes Broadcom appears well positioned to drive top-line revenue growth at or above the Street's 15 percent year-over-year 2011 revenue estimate of $7.8 billion.

In 2011, the analyst looks for baseband and connectivity to remain leading growth drivers. After years of investment, baseband's belated ramp showed nice traction in 2010 (>150 percent Y/Y) driven by revenues from Nokia's EDGE platforms, in addition to Samsung's EDGE and 3G programs.

Schafer believes that Broadcom continues to be a primary beneficiary of Nokia's (NYSE:NOK) dual-source strategy, with Texas Instrument's (NYSE:TXN) EDGE platforms primarily going to Broadcom and 3G platforms to ST-Ericsson.

We look for baseband growth of at least 50 percent in 2011, driven by continued ramps of EDGE platforms at NOK and Samsung, as well as low-end 3G ramps. We believe BRCM's 3G ramp at NOK remains a 2012 driver, the analyst said.

The analyst also said the recent shift in Nokia's OS strategy to Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Mobile is an incremental opportunity for Broadcom, which has no smartphone exposure on the baseband side, but is a reference design partner for Windows Mobile on the connectivity and video core side.

Assuming dual-sourcing continues with Windows Mobile, Broadcom has an opportunity to compete with Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM), Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) and ST-Ericsson for sockets, despite Broadcom has no baseband presence in the smartphone market and only recently introduced products.

In addition, Broadcom has been a primary beneficiary of the connectivity megatrend. With anchor customer Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) driving wireless combo and GPS revenues, Broadcom has benefited significantly from its early mover advantage to integrate wireless connectivity. In 2010, Apple represented 11.1 percent of total revenues or about $750 million.

We highlight that Broadcom is shipping to more than just AAPL, however, including five of the top six handset manufacturers, the analyst said.

The analyst said the company's design wins should allow it to maintain its market-leading share In the near term, with Texas Instruments a distant, but competitive, second.

Shares of California-based Broadcom closed Tuesday's regular trading session at $38.45 on Nasdaq. Analyst Schafer has a price target of $55.