Thursday, 25 May, 2017

SoftBank to sell $8bn stake in Arm to Vision Fund

SoftBank plans Arm stake sale to secure Abu Dhabi fund backing SoftBank to Place ARM Holdings Stake in Vision Fund - FT
Juana Turner | 09 March, 2017, 00:30

Japan's SoftBank is to sell 25% of UK-founded smartphone chip designer Arm to a $100bn Saudi-backed investment fund.

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.

"We're having ongoing, fruitful discussions over our participation in the fund", Mubadala was quoted as saying.

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. It added: "Arm is certainly a strong technology company with great, continued potential".

It is understood that the transfer of Arm shares will come on top of the $25 billion that SoftBank plans to contribute to the...

It is understood SoftBank is in talks to place the shareholding, worth around eight billion United States dollars (£6.6 billion) into its 100 billion United States dollar (£82.2 billion) Vision Fund, which is backed by a Saudi sovereign-wealth fund, as well as other investors such as Apple and Qualcomm Technologies. "The Abu Dhabi group has been focused on growing its technology investments over the past decade, including in the semiconductor sector", a Mubadala spokesperson said. Apple had a major stake in ARM when it was spun-out of Acorn Computers in the 1990s until the SoftBank acquisition previous year.

When it bought Arm for £24 billion a year ago SoftBank promised to keep the Cambridge chipmaker, described as one of Britain's corporate "Crown Jewels", intact.

The transaction, which completed in September, was announced just days after Theresa May replaced David Cameron as United Kingdom prime minister.

The Financial Times reported that the Prime Minister's office raised no concerns about the deal.

However, some questioned whether the United Kingdom was selling the crown jewels of its tech sector to a foreign investor at a low price. As part of the acquisition, SoftBank pledged to double Arm's UK-based workforce by 2020 and keep its headquarters in the United Kingdom, to signify its commitment to Britain. Hermann Hauser, Arm's founder, described the deal as one of the "sad and unintended consequences" of Brexit.

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