A Bloomberg report from last week detailed that SoftBank was looking to at least partially sell Arm Holdings. A new report has now shed light on SoftBank approaching Apple to see if it would be interested in acquiring Arm.
Both companies had preliminary discussions, but the report states that Apple is now not planning to bid for a stake in Arm’s business. This is because Arm’s licensing operation will not fit well with Apple’s hardware and software business. It can also lead to regulatory issues as Arm-based chips are used by many of Apple’s competitors as well.
Sources suggest that Nvidia has shown keen interested in acquiring a stake in Arm, but it might not lead to a deal with SoftBank going ahead and listing Arm publicly. SoftBank had acquired Arm in 2016 for $32 billion and the company is a part of its $100 billion Vision Fund. SoftBank is hoping to raise some money by either publicly listing Arm or selling a stake in it. A lot of companies are likely looking at what SoftBank does with Arm very closely as chips using the latter’s instructions set, design, and architecture are found inside almost every consumer product launched in the last decade. This includes Apple as well which announced the switch to its own Apple Silicon-based chips on Arm’s instructions set for future Macs.
Given the intense scrutiny that any tech company will subject itself to by acquiring a stake in Arm, it is likely that SoftBank will end up publicly listing the company to raise money. That would make the most sense as Apple, Intel, Nvidia, or any other tech giant owning a stake in Arm could send flutters across the industry about the possible ramifications it could have.