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Japan’s SoftBank to acquire chip designer ARM in $31bn deal

Fresh off its spin-off of game developer Supercell, SoftBank Group (SBG) has announced plans to buy chip designer ARM Holdings for a gargantuan US$31-billion (R443-billion).

ARM is responsible for the chip designs used in a variety of smartphones, as its designs are licensed out to the likes of Samsung, MediaTek, Qualcomm, LG, Sony and a host of other companies.

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In fact, Apple used to license out ARM’s designs for its iPhones too, up until it launched a custom design for the iPhone 5.

SoftBank’s acquisition is set to be an all-cash deal, buying ARM’s shares at a premium of 43%. The deal is expected to close by the end of September.

Why is the company acquiring ARM though?

“SBG believes ARM is one of the world’s leading technology companies, with strong capabilities in global semiconductor intellectual property and the ‘Internet of Things’, and a proven track record of innovation,” the group explained in a statement.

The group cited ARM’s position as a global leader, its “industry expertise and global network of relationships and its “dedication to innovation” as well.

SoftBank said that it would also help ARM by “investing in engineering talent” and “complementary acquisitions”.

The move is seemingly meant to beef up ARM’s arsenal, as the likes of Apple, Samsung and Qualcomm continue to release custom CPU designs for high-end devices.

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