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Brit chip biz ARM legs it to Softbank for $32bn

Japanese telco giant gets into the mobile microprocessor biz

Softbank_structure

Updated British semiconductor designer ARM is about to be acquired by Japan's SoftBank.

The New York Times reports the deal is imminent. The FT has put a value on the deal: US$32.4bn. That's a premium of about $10bn over ARM's market capitalisation.

SoftBank is a sprawling company that operates a telco in its Japanese home but is better known as an eclectic investor in all sorts of technologies.

Acquiring ARM would be something of departure for SoftBank, which targets mostly consumer markets. Even the company's “Other” segment (see graphic above) doesn't touch on anything close to ARM, instead comprising a baseball team, media operations and an energy company.

If SoftBank does indeed acquire ARM, the group will become a key supplier to the world's mobile phone industry and position it well to take on the internet of things market.

We'll update this story as and when more details come to hand. ®

Updated to add

ARM and Softbank have confirmed the news. The Wall Street Journal reports the deal took just two weeks to negotiate. Meanwhile, Hermann Hauser, the venture capitalist who helped spin ARM out of UK computer maker Acorn in 1990, says: "ARM has been the proudest achievement in my life and so it's a very sad day for me personally and for technology in Britain".

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