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UK Chip Designer ARM to Be Acquired by Japan's Softbank for $31.4B

British chip designer and major Apple partner ARM Holdings is set to be acquired by Japanese firm Softbank for $31.4 billion, the BBC has revealed.

According to the report, the board of ARM is expected to recommend shareholders accept the offer, which amounts to a 43 percent premium on its closing market value of $22.2 billion last week.

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Shares in the U.K. technology firm surged by 45 percent at the open of the London Stock Exchange this morning on news of the deal, adding $10 billion to ARM's market value.

The Cambridge-based company was founded in 1990 and employs 3,000 staff. The acquisition is said to be the biggest ever purchase of a European technology company, one that will be funded by Softbank's own cash reserves and a long-term loan from Japan's Mizuho Bank. Commenting on the deal, chairman and chief executive of Softbank, Masayoshi Son, 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. ARM will be an excellent strategic fit with the Softbank group as we invest to capture the very significant opportunities provided by the Internet of Things.
ARM designs the processors that power all of Apple's iOS devices, as well as most of Samsung's smartphones, and receives royalties on each chip made to its specifications. Last year over 15 billion ARM-designed processors were shipped, up 3 billion on the previous year.

Softbank is one of the world's biggest technology companies, having previously acquired Vodafone's Japanese operations and U.S. telecoms company Sprint. The latter $20 billion deal was the biggest foreign acquisition by a Japanese firm at the time.

Following the announcement of today's deal, ARM said it would keep its headquarters in Cambridge and double the number of its staff over the next five years. Softbank also intends to preserve the UK tech firm's organization, including its existing senior management structure and partnership-based business model.

Tags: ARM, Softbank


Top Rated Comments

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33 months ago
"We just bought this chip company"

"Oh yeah? How much it cost you?"

"An ARM and a leg."



I'll let myself out.
Rating: 24 Votes
33 months ago

What would this have to do with the FCC? They're a British company. The FCC would have no say.


Youre confusing FCC with FTC.

And brit or not, there would be a problem of antitrust if Apple bought ARM.
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Always makes me smile when I read about ARM making the chips for Apple.
when the Fan's all scream "Apple makes it's own chips from scratch" ;)


ARM doesn't make any chips.

And Apple does indeed make their own chips from scratch, do you even have a faint idea of what a Instruction Set Architecture is?
Rating: 20 Votes
33 months ago
Apple should have bought then
Rating: 11 Votes
33 months ago
Apple licenses ISA (instruction set) from ARM and they design their own processors (not ARM). Samsung on the other hand is using ARM designed cores and also their own(?) Mongoose core is only a slight modification of ARM's A72 core.
Rating: 11 Votes
33 months ago

The A7 features an Apple-designed[2] ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_A7#cite_note-AnandTech-iPhone5s-A7-2') 64-bit[5] ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_A7#cite_note-AnandTech-iPhone5s-64-bit-5') 1.3[2] ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_A7#cite_note-AnandTech-iPhone5s-A7-2')–1.4[3] ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_A7#cite_note-AnandTech-iPadAir-CPU-3') GHz ARMv8-A ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARMv8-A')[4] ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_A7#cite_note-AnandTech-iPhone5s-Cyclone-4')[6] ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_A7#cite_note-LLVM-5s-ARMv8-A-6')dual-core CPU ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Multi-core_processor'),[2] ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_A7#cite_note-AnandTech-iPhone5s-A7-2') calledCyclone.[4] ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_A7#cite_note-AnandTech-iPhone5s-Cyclone-4') The ARMv8-A instruction set doubles the number of registers ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Processor_register') of the A7 compared to the ARMv7 used in A6.[13] ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_A7#cite_note-Ars:_Apple_unveils-13') It has 31 general purpose registers that are each 64-bits wide and 32 floating-point/NEON ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_NEON') registers that are each 128-bits wide.[5] ('https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_A7#cite_note-AnandTech-iPhone5s-64-bit-5')

See the word "ARM" in there..... but but but they scream, Apple designs and makes their chips from scratch ;)


We also have the people who believe Apple produces these ARM chips themselves that are designed by Apple.

At some point the pin will drop that Apple only designs the chips based on ARM architecture and has Samsung and TSMC produce them...but apart from that, it's all Apple produced and owned :p

A relationship that benefits Apple, ARM and the suppliers


Clearly chip design is not even remotely your area of expertise so I'll explain it to you:

Apple licenses an instruction set known as ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) which is only a contract that says that if you compile your code to produce these instructions then the hardware will understand them.

In no way does the ISA enforce a certain implementation, you could implement it however you want.

Why did Apple choose this route? Simple: There are already a ton of compiler support (http://www.linaro.org/projects/armv8/) that can generate executables for ARM ISAs so no work on getting a compiler to generate the code.

Apple's chips are completely designed by them which is why you always see their chips kicking butt in single core tests.

So to finish: buy a license to an ISA, design your own chip so you can optimize it how you see fit, pay someone else to manufacture them.

Apple probably has what ARM calls a perpetual license which provides you with the rights to design and manufacture anything you want that is ARM-based perpetually, probably costs a nice and fat paycheck though.
Rating: 8 Votes
33 months ago

Brexit at work.

Guess Apple will not order Anything from ARM anymore!


Apple don't 'order' anything from ARM, ever. Apple design their own chips in-house using the ARM microarchitecture. Then a company like Samsung will manufacture the chips.
Rating: 8 Votes
33 months ago

They don't design Watch bands so I don't see why Apple should have been interested..


Don't be the watch bands guy.
Rating: 7 Votes
33 months ago

Apple should have bought then

People (including me) said the same thing about Nest and I have to admit, it looks like it was a smart move on Apple's part to pass on Nest.

As for this, I'm pretty sure that regulators would have some issues if Apple bought them
Rating: 7 Votes
33 months ago

I thought Apple should have bought them.


They don't design Watch bands so I don't see why Apple should have been interested.

Btw this is not a bad news for UK since ARM is going to stay there, at least for now.
Rating: 6 Votes
33 months ago
I thought Apple should have bought them.

Perhaps they didn't because ARM are too focused on computing.
Rating: 6 Votes

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