SoftBank is considering a potential sale or IPO for British chip designer Arm Holdings and has hired Goldman Sachs to explore options.
That's according to a report by the Wall Street Journal which says the review is currently at an initial stage, so there is not much information about how much interest industry players might have in Arm Holdings.
When SoftBank bought Arm Holdings for $32 billion in 2016, it was the largest-ever acquisition for the Japanese conglomerate at that time.
SoftBank's chairman Masayoshi Son and CEO Segars described the deal as historic, saying it would bring together the two companies "with a shared vision and ambition, driven to empower the world with technology that makes life easier, safer and more fulfilling".
According to the WSJ report, the Japanese conglomerate is currently needs more cash to support firms in its $100 billion Vision Fund, many of which have been struggling since the start of coronavirus pandemic.
Softbank is looking to raise cash from its varied stable of assets and plans to sell up to $41 billion in assets to buy back its own shares. Last month, it also unveiled a series of transactions to divest about $21 billion of its stake in T-Mobile after the merger of Sprint with the third largest US wireless company in 2019.
British firm Arm Holdings was founded in 1990 and started trading publicly in 1998. In 2018, SoftBank said that it intended on re-list Arm within 5 years.
Apple started licensing Arm Holdings' technology for the iPhone in 2006, and recently confirmed at WWDC that the Mac will also shift to Apple Silicon processors based on Arm technologies.
The news of SoftBank mulling sale of Arm comes at the time when semiconductor maker Analog Devices Inc (ADI) has also revealed the plan to buy rival Maxim Integrated Products Inc to boost its market share in automotive and 5G chipmaking.
According to Reuters, ADI will pay $21 billion to acquire Maxim in its largest deal ever.
It will help create a chipmaking force with a combined value of about $68 billion and will compete with bigger competitors including Texas Instruments.
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