SoftBank to acquire ARM in £24bn tech deal

BY Fraser Tennant

In a deal depicted as two companies with a shared vision coming together to push the limits of technology, Japanese multinational telecommunications and internet corporation SoftBank is to acquire UK technology firm ARM Holdings plc in a transaction worth £24bn.

Under the all-cash acquisition, SoftBank, one of the world's biggest technology companies, will pay £17 per ARM share – a 41.1 percent premium to its 15 July closing price. The deal is to be funded by Softbank's own cash reserves as well as a long-term loan from Japan's Mizuho Bank.

“We have long admired ARM as a world renowned and highly respected technology company that is by some distance the market-leader in its field,” said Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank. “ARM will be an excellent strategic fit within the SoftBank group as we invest to capture the very significant opportunities provided by the “Internet of Things (IoT).”

The acquisition of ARM, which analysts consider to be central to the tech industry's move to the IoT, is a major step in fulfilling Mr Son’s intention to transform SoftBank into a “tech investment powerhouse".

For ARM, the transaction means that the firm will continue to be able to play a key role in developing new technology in future, in addition to being a great endorsement for the UK tech industry as a whole.

“It is the view of the Board that this is a compelling offer for ARM Shareholders, which secures the delivery of future value today and in cash,” said Stuart Chambers, chairman of ARM. “The Board believes that by accessing all the resources that SoftBank has to offer, ARM will be able to further accelerate the use of ARM-based technology wherever computing happens.”

SoftBank has also provided assurances that it will double ARM employee headcount in the UK (estimated to be over 1500 jobs) over the next five years, as well as increasing staff numbers outside the UK, again over five years.

Furthermore, the Japanese conglomerate has pledged that the successful partnership business model, culture and brand of Cambridge-based ARM - which employs more than 3000 people - will remain unchanged.

Mr Son concluded: “This is one of the most important acquisitions we have ever made, and I expect ARM to be a key pillar of SoftBank’s growth strategy going forward.”

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