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News [CNBC] SoftBank hires Goldman Sachs to explore sale options for chip designer Arm. . .

Hitman928

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Apr 15, 2012
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WSJ was actually the first to report this but it's behind a paywall so I'm posting a source that is a free article. They do mention that this started from inquiries Softbank received about selling ARM (parts or whole not specified). Softbank is reportedly also considering letting ARM go public as well. I will just finish by saying that absolutely nothing might come of this in the end but thought it was an interesting piece of news.
 
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soresu

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Dec 19, 2014
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This leads me to wonder if the responses to their Cortex X custom program were less than enthusiastic given the timing.
 

moinmoin

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Jun 1, 2017
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It's only 4 years since SoftBank bought Arm, that's not a lot of staying power. Looks like SoftBank was mostly interested in IoT which may get split off of Arm.

or the Billion dollar they lost at Wildcard is hurting badly.
Looks like SoftBank actually didn't invest anything in Wirecard and the whole money was sourced through Saudi partners... Its $100b Vision Fund looks to be in a bad shape though due to the human malware.
 

dullard

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May 21, 2001
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How long are the contracts with ARM to use their designs? Many times a good financial decision is to buy something with some value and turn it into more value by raising prices that the previous owner was unwilling or unable to do. So, are the licences out for many years, or are they short term?
 

moinmoin

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How long are the contracts with ARM to use their designs? Many times a good financial decision is to buy something with some value and turn it into more value by raising prices that the previous owner was unwilling or unable to do. So, are the licences out for many years, or are they short term?
That's not how Arm licensing works. Depending on the access level you have several upfront fees at several milestone points (initial access, tape out, mixing and matching different separate IPs) that need to be renewed annually. Then you got the royalty fee for every chip actually produced.

They could certainly raise the fees, but all those entry level offers have been recently added to fend off the increasing interest in RISC-V.
 

sdifox

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Sep 30, 2005
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It's only 4 years since SoftBank bought Arm, that's not a lot of staying power. Looks like SoftBank was mostly interested in IoT which may get split off of Arm.


Looks like SoftBank actually didn't invest anything in Wirecard and the whole money was sourced through Saudi partners... Its $100b Vision Fund looks to be in a bad shape though due to the human malware.
Ah, so they lucked out.
 

Hitman928

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Apr 15, 2012
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It could be, unless considering that Apple should give a period to them in order to make the transition to a new uARCH or just going to x86. It could give a new life to Android x86
The other ARM players don't have x86 licenses so I don't think that would be an acceptable solution. RISC-V isn't in a position to be an acceptable replacement either from what I understand.
 
Mar 11, 2004
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I'm surprised there isn't more speculation about whom was inquiring about buying them. Unless that's just a smokescreen (i.e. they claim someone is interested in buying to spur others to put in bids).

At this point, I'd guess just about anyone/everyone.

Anti-trust will probably kick in.
I highly doubt that. I'm not saying it won't be broached, but I would be skeptical that it would be prevented. The US almost certainly wouldn't (Apple controlling a major tech IP would be viewed as a positive; and especially since it would give extra reason for them to block Chinese companies from using it). EU might try to block it, but I'm not even sure they would.
 

ElFenix

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Mar 20, 2000
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The other ARM players don't have x86 licenses so I don't think that would be an acceptable solution. RISC-V isn't in a position to be an acceptable replacement either from what I understand.
is MIPS still around?
 

ThatBuzzkiller

Senior member
Nov 14, 2014
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I think an acquisition by some Chinese state owned enterprise or local governments would be interested but that could be blocked by the Japanese government and it will definitely be blocked by the American government but that won't be an issue with China's regulators ...

I wonder how Japanese regulators would react if America expressed opposition to this ...
 

ThatBuzzkiller

Senior member
Nov 14, 2014
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Would be interested? That's an understatement. That's like saying they "would be interested" in acquiring control of TSMC.
Maybe so but it's not going to happen either way since the sale would be blocked even though Softbank could stand to make several coffers worth by offering to the likes of Tsinghua Unigroup ...

As for TSMC, any acquisition from a foreign entity would be impossible since the Taiwanese government will block it when it adds too much value to their economy so they don't even let their closest ally America have this option ...
 

Qwertilot

Golden Member
Nov 28, 2013
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The whole point, and value, of ARM lies in its ability to be licensed cheaply to a vast variety of markets.

It would be very strange if it got sold to someone who reduced that - and would probably lead to a replacement being developed in reasonably fast order.
 

NTMBK

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2011
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The whole point, and value, of ARM lies in its ability to be licensed cheaply to a vast variety of markets.

It would be very strange if it got sold to someone who reduced that - and would probably lead to a replacement being developed in reasonably fast order.
"Reasonably fast" would not be fast enough to avoid massive damage to the entire semiconductor industry. There's entire industries built around ARM-compatible IP, and massive amounts of effort invested into ARM-compatible software stacks. Starting over from scratch would be a huge blow.

Maybe one of the existing players like MIPS or RISC-V could step into the gap... but there would probably be a decade of chaos before it all shook out.
 

sdifox

No Lifer
Sep 30, 2005
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"Reasonably fast" would not be fast enough to avoid massive damage to the entire semiconductor industry. There's entire industries built around ARM-compatible IP, and massive amounts of effort invested into ARM-compatible software stacks. Starting over from scratch would be a huge blow.

Maybe one of the existing players like MIPS or RISC-V could step into the gap... but there would probably be a decade of chaos before it all shook out.
It's what happens when USA bars Huawei, they are going to hit back hard.
 

Eug

Lifer
Mar 11, 2000
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There were rumours back in 2010 that Apple was interested in buying Arm. Nothing came of that though, and it may have been idle speculation from finance types (just because Apple had a ton of cash on hand).

 

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