SoftBank rumoured to sell a chunk of ARM

March 9, 2017 // 11:01 a.m.

Tags: #arm #arm-holdings #financial #investment-fund #masayoshi-son #pif #saudi-arabia #softbank #softbank-vision-fund

Japanese technology giant SoftBank may be looking to offload at least part of its recently-acquired ARM subsidiary, with plans to sell a quarter stake in the company to an investment fund create in partnership with the government of Saudi Arabia.

SoftBank acquired Cambridge-based processor designer ARM Holdings back in July last year in a deal valued at £24.3 billion, taking control of the company behind the processors in almost every smartphone and most embedded devices on the planet. At the time, SoftBank founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son stated that there would be little change at the coalface: ARM Holdings would keep its UK base with plans to double the workforce over the following five years, a commitment he failed to repeat in an open letter published when the deal closed in September last year.

Now, SoftBank may be looking at chopping ARM up and selling it off piecemeal, beginning with a claimed plan to sell a 25 percent stake in the company to a joint investment fund for £6.58 billion - an eight percent return on its original investment. The investment fund tipped as the recipient of the share is, interestingly enough, also a part of SoftBank: the SoftBank Vision Fund was announced by the company (PDF warning) in October last year, with SoftBank putting $25 billion up over a five year period and the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (PIF) putting up a further $45 billion.

Rumours of the deal come courtesy unnamed sources speaking to the Financial Times, which claim that the company is using the ARM stake as part of its $25 billion commitment to the fund. Neither SoftBank nor ARM have confirmed nor denied the report.

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