SoftBank signs deal to buy ARM Holdings

July 18, 2016 // 11:23 a.m.

Tags: #acorn #acquisition #arm #company #financial #masayoshi-son #processor #softbank

Cambridge-based processor giant ARM is to be acquired by Japanese tech company SoftBank in a deal valued at a whopping £24.3 billion.

Founded in 1990, ARM Holdings is the company behind the ARM architecture - originally Acorn RISC Machine, later Advanced RISC Machine when its originating company folded - which powers the vast majority of mobile and embedded devices around the world. Unlike rivals such as Intel, ARM produces no hardware itself: the company operates entirely on an intellectual property licensing platform, designing CPU and GPU hardware and selling licences for third parties to build or design their own implementations.

With tens of billions of ARM CPUs in the world, it's a model that has been a success - and one that has attracted the attention of Japan's SoftBank. The company today announced (PDF warning) that it was offering £24.3 billion to acquire ARM Holdings outright. At a press conference confirming the deal, SoftBank founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son denied that the recent drop in value for the Pound Sterling relating to the result of the EU referendum was the catalyst; rather, Masayoshi claimed that he had been working on such a deal for some considerable time but had only recently been able to secure a bridge loan to fund the acquisition.

SoftBank has indicated that it will keep ARM Holding's UK base, with plans to double its local workforce over the next five years. The deal is currently awaiting regulatory and shareholder approval, and represents the company's largest acquisition since its deal to buy telecommunications company Sprint in 2013.
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