Japan’s SoftBank is buying iPhone CPU supplier ARM for a reported $32 billion

Apple A9 (mockup 002)

Japan’s carrier SoftBank has announced it will be purchasing British fabless semiconductor maker ARM Holdings plc for a reported $32 billion, which is around a 43 percent premium on its closing market value of $22.25 billion on Friday. ARM confirmed the deal (PDF download) on Monday.

According to the statement, ARM’s board is expected to recommend shareholders accept the offer. Apple is an investor in ARM and licenses its technology as a basis for custom CPU designs for its own A-series chips which power iOS devices.

SoftBank will retain ARM’s existing leadership, keep its headquarters in UK’s Cambridge and double the number of its staff over the next five years.

“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, said SoftBank CEO.

“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,” he continued. “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.”

Reuters adds that SoftBank believes that the fact that it’s willing to pay a significant premium for ARM indicates that it’s also close to turning around another major acquisition, the U.S. mobile operator Sprint.

The Japanese corporation bought a majority stake in Sprint back in 2013 for $20 billion, but the deal has since proved a major headache for them. SoftBank Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son told a news conference on Monday that he made the offer after Britain voted to leave the EU and that the subsequent fall in sterling, British currency, had not been a major factor.

ARM started in 1990 as a spinoff from Acorn Computers, a British computer maker.

Since then, the company has gone from a small startup of less than 20 people to a global leader employing more than 3,000 people whose technology is used in more than 90 percent of smartphones produced by Apple and Samsung, among others.

Source: The New York Times