SoftBank, the company that owns chip designer Arm Holdings is reportedly looking for a full or partial sale of Arm. Arm was obtained by the Japanese group in 2016 for an estimated $32 billion. According to rumors, it seems that Apple is not interested in purchasing the company, despite being approached by the Japanese tech giant.
SoftBank looking to sell Arm
Currently, Apple licenses Arm technology the chip in the iPhone and iPad and is planning on transitioning to Arm chips in future Macs later this year.
In a report, Bloomberg says that SoftBank approached Apple to see if the Cupertino tech giant might want to procure Arm. And though the two companies reportedly had introductory discussions, Apple does not plan to bid for the company because of Arm’s licensing requirements and possible regulatory concerns. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman:
SoftBank Group Corp. approached Apple Inc. recently to gauge the iPhone maker’s interest in bidding for chip design firm Arm Ltd., according to people familiar with the discussions.
The two firms had preliminary discussions, but Apple isn’t planning to pursue a bid. Arm’s licensing operation would fit poorly with Apple’s hardware focused business model. There may also be regulatory concerns about Apple owning a key licensee that supplies so many rivals. Representatives from SoftBank and Apple declined to comment.
Nvidia might procure Arm
Though Apple does not plan on pursuing a bid for Arm, it seems that GPU-maker Nvidia approached SoftBank to discuss a possible arrangement for the sale of Arm. Since this deal is still in the early stages, it is likely that other bidders could appear. Additionally, SoftBank is also contemplating a public stock listing as an alternative to a private sale.
A sale for Arm could become the most significant chip industry acquisition to date. The procurement of Arm by one company will most likely earn critique from competition who fear prejudicial conduct. Companies will need to be assured that equal licensing opportunities will still continue to be available for everyone.