SoftBank is still looking to offload ARM after the failed acquisition bid from Nvidia. Qualcomm is interested, but after regulators killed the Nvidia deal over concerns that it will harm competition, there is no hope for a straight acquisition. Instead, the company has a different plan – or should we say an old plan, since reports from two years ago indicated that Samsung was considering a similar idea.
The plan is to build a consortium of companies, each of which will own a small chunk of ARM. “You’d need to have many companies participating so they have a net effect that ARM is independent,” CEO Cristiano Amon told the Financial Times.
Previously, Qualcomm was vehemently opposed to Nvidia’s acquisition plan with the same argument – ARM is crucial to the tech business and being owned by one chipmaker will be devastating to the competition (SoftBank doesn’t manufacture semiconductors). If many companies have a stake, then the playing field will be level.
Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel, has already suggested that Intel may support such a consortium. Gelsinger met with Samsung boss Lee Jae-yong, reportedly to discuss cooperation on such an endeavor. Park Jung-ho, co-CEO of Korean chipmaker SK Hynix, also talked of forming a consortium.
While these companies negotiate between themselves, SoftBank is reportedly planning to do an IPO but keep a controlling share. The company is expected to list ARM on a stock exchange in New York. That may run into issues because the UK government, which is still debating what to do, may push for ARM to be listed on the London Stock Exchange instead.