Japan's SoftBank Group Corp. agreed to buy ARM Holdings Plc for 24.3 billion pounds ($32 billion), securing a slice of virtually every mobile computing gadget on the planet and future connected devices in the home. ARM's technology is the engine behind Apple's AX processors for all iOS devices.
The Japanese company is offering 1,700 pence in cash per share or a 43 percent premium to Friday's close, according to a statement Monday. The deal would be the biggest-ever for SoftBank, which under Chairman Masayoshi Son became one of Japan's most acquisitive companies with stakes in wireless carrier Sprint Corp. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
"This all happened very, very quickly," ARM Chief Executive Officer Simon Segars said in a telephone interview. "They made an offer that was very, very compelling for our shareholders and a proposal for how to invest in the company for the future."
He said there will be no changes in the way ARM operates, and Softbank will allow the company to continue to exist as a standalone unit. "We've been completely independent since our IPO and that is something that our partners value," Segars said, referring to ARM's semiconductor manufacturing customers. He added that Softbank "will keep investing in our roadmap of existing technologies" and that "we are not getting acquired by someone who wants to strip costs out of the business.
SoftBank will gain control of a cash-generating mobile industry leader that gets royalties every time clients such as Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. or Qualcomm Inc. adopt its designs, which are considered power-saving and efficient. The deal is the biggest takeover of a British company since the country last month decided to leave the European Union and comes after the pound plummeted against the Japanese yen.
"Just three weeks after the referendum decision, it shows that Britain has lost none of its allure to international investors," U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said in a statement.
ARM is growing at 10x the rate of the semiconductor industry it serves and is increasingly the glue that binds the disruptive forces of the entire digital world, not just $700 smartphones." For more on this story, read the full Bloomberg report here.
The Financial Times adds that "Masayoshi Son, the charismatic 58-year-old chairman of the Japanese group has built SoftBank into a sprawling global telecoms and media conglomerate, worth $68bn and comprising holdings that range from a majority stake in Sprint, the fourth-largest US mobile carrier, to Yahoo Japan, the country's most popular internet search engine.
With a fondness for big "crazy ideas", Mr Son has been looking to deploy a huge war chest of cash he has accumulated from successful investments.
ARM was founded in November 1990 as Advanced RISC Machines Ltd and structured as a joint venture between Acorn Computers, Apple Computer (now Apple Inc.) and VLSI Technology.The new company intended to further the development of the Acorn RISC Machine processor, which was originally used in the Acorn Archimedes and had been selected by Apple for their Newton project. While it's too late now, you have to wonder if Apple could have tried a run at ARM, as Apple has always said that they love to own the technology behind their inventions/products.
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