Japan’s Softbank will buy the UK technology firm ARM Holdings for £24bn ($32bn). The deal is one of the biggest of the year and will make Softbank in control of a company whose chip designs can be found in most of the world’s mobile gadgets, from iPhones and drones to a growing array of smart devices and appliances for the home.
For Softbank, it also means a bet on Internet of Things (IoT). ARM designs low-power processors with minimal power consumption, which will be a significant embed in IoT modules than it is with phones. ARM is also good at applications processors and GPUs and owns the legacy of creating smaller, simpler microcontrollers that use virtually no power.
ARM and SoftBank have an overlap on how we see the future,” Simon A. Segars, ARM’s chief executive, said in an interview. “Now that the offer is in the public domain, if anyone wants to make a counteroffer, they are more than welcome to do so,” he said. “There’s always a possibility of someone counterbidding.”
ARM’s headquarters would be maintained in Cambridge. The company will increase the number of its staff over the next five years. The deal is said to be the third-largest proposed corporate merger this year. Once closed, this would be the second-largest chip deal on record, after Broadcom’s $37 billion deal for Avago Technologies.
Commenting on the merger, Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive of Softbank said, “This is one of the most important acquisitions we have ever made, and I expect ARM to be a key pillar of SoftBank’s growth strategy going forward. We have long admired ARM as a world-renowned and highly-respected technology company that is by some distance the market leader in its field.”
Softbank will fund the deal with own cash reserves and a long-term loan from Japan’s Mizuho Bank.