Japan’s Softbank to buy UK chip-designer ARM for $32 billion

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Japan's Softbank has agreed to acquire ARM Holdings, the giant U.K. semiconductor firm that supplies part of the chip design used in Apple iPhones, in a deal worth more than $32 billion.


ARM, the largest London-listed tech company by market value, is a major presence in mobile processing, with its processor and graphics technology used by Samsung, Huawei, and Apple in their in-house microchips.


Components based on technology licensed by ARM are found in the vast majority of the world's smartphones, and the Cambridge-based group has branched into other connected devices as smartphone growth slows.


ARM has been focusing heavily on improving its IoT semiconductor portfolio. IoT connected devices will number 38.5 billion in 2020, up from 13.4 billion in 2015, a rise of over 285 percent, according to Juniper Research, highlighting the interest in this sector from major technology giants.


Softbank's acquisition of ARM represents one of the biggest takeovers of a European technology business. ARM is based in Cambridge, U.K., a city just north of London and employs around 4,000 people.


The deal comes just weeks after Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU), a move which many believed would have an impact on investment in U.K. technology. But ARM's customer base is global and would be protected from any Brexit fallout.


Softbank said it planned to "preserve the ARM organization," including existing senior management team, brand and culture. ARM's headquarters will remain in Cambridge while Softbank pledged to double the employee headcount in the U.K. over the next five years. The deal is subject to ARM shareholder approval.


(photo - pcmag.com)