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March 8, 2017

SoftBank to sell huge stake in ARM

Comes less than a year after the Japanese giant spent £24bn acquiring ARM.

By Ellie Burns

Less than a year after its £24bn acquisition of UK-based ARM, SoftBank is reported to be looking to sell a 25% stake in the company to a Saudi-backed investment group.

The 25% stake could be worth around £6.5bn, according to the Financial Times.

According to reports, the deal with the Saudi-backed investment group is being driven by SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son, who wants to secure investment for his Vision Fund. The Vision Fund is a technology fund which is aiming to raise $100bn and, if successful, would make Mr Son one of the world’s biggest technology investors.

READ MORE: Why did Softbank buy ARM?

While some in the market expressed fears that the stake sale could reflect concerns over SoftBank’s commitments to the UK, the FT reported that Downing Street had been notified of the transaction and did not raise any concerns.

Downing Street was also involved in the initial £24bn acquisition of ARM, with the UK chip designer considered a flagship UK tech company. At the time, Prime Minister Theresa May said the acquisition was in the country’s national interest.

Prior to the deal, SoftBank promised to preserve the current ARM organisation, senior management and partnership based business model. In addition, the Japanese firm pledged to at least double the employee headcount at the Cambridge-based company and also increase the headcount outside the UK over the next five years.

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“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”, said Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of SoftBank, last year.

“This investment also marks our strong commitment to the UK and the competitive advantage provided by the deep pool of science and technology talent in Cambridge. As an integral part of the transaction, we intend to at least double the number of employees employed by ARM in the UK over the next five years.”

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