Report: ARM Holdings Purchased by SoftBank for $32 Billion

Subject: Processors, Mobile | July 18, 2016 - 12:03 AM |
Tagged: softbank, SoC, smartphones, mobile cpu, Cortex-A73, ARM Holdings, arm, acquisition

ARM Holdings is to be aquired by SoftBank for $32 billion USD. This report has been confirmed by the Wall Street Journal, who states that an official annoucement of the deal is likely on Monday as "both companies’ boards have agreed to the deal".

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(Image credit: director.co.uk)

"Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. has reached a more than $32 billion deal to buy U.K.-based chip-designer ARM HoldingsPLC, marking a significant push for the Japanese telecommunications giant into the mobile internet, according to a person familiar with the situation." - WSJ

ARM just announced their newest CPU core, the Cortex-A73, at the end of May, with performance and efficiency improvements over the current Cortex-A72 promised with the new architecture.

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(Image credit: AnandTech)

We will have to wait and see if this aquisition will have any bearing on future product development, though it seems the acquisition targets the significant intellectual property value of ARM, whose designs can be found in most smartphones.


July 18, 2016 | 01:05 AM - Posted by quest4glory

This reminds me, somewhat, of Oracle buying Sun (primarily for Java.) Protect their interests and whatnot...but it could be harmful to consumers more so than Java was to businesses, if Softbank is not subject to scrutiny over how they exercise control over ARM IP and licensees.

I'm sure they will be totally fair to all parties...

July 18, 2016 | 08:52 AM - Posted by Shadowarez

Like they are at dealing with in country companies ripping off IP from states cuz that's gone so well so far lol.

July 18, 2016 | 08:56 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Britain is having a 15% off sale due to the retards voting to leave the EU.

July 18, 2016 | 10:09 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yes but now they are safe behind the English Channel. No ISIS terrorists or Syrian refuges will be able to reach England. The results of US and British politics in Middle East will remain just a picture on BBC news. Let Greeks and Italians deal with the refuges, let the French and other Europeans eat the bombs from terrorists.

July 18, 2016 | 10:13 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

US citizens will vote the guy who promises them to build a wall.
UK citizens voted for those who promised them that the English Channel will act as a wall.

July 18, 2016 | 10:32 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

There is always RISC-V if SoftBank changes anything for the worse. Check out the membership to see just who is a RISC-V Foundation member. I see AMD and Nvidia on that list, Google, IBM, and Qualcomm.

"RISC-V: The Free and Open RISC Instruction Set Architecture"

https://riscv.org/

"RISC-V OFFERS SIMPLE, MODULAR ISA
New CPU Instruction Set Is Open and Extensible"

BY David Kanter of The Linley Group

(PDF of Article embedded on webpage.)

https://riscv.org/2016/04/risc-v-offers-simple-modular-isa/

July 18, 2016 | 04:06 PM - Posted by Kareha (not verified)

Wouldn't be surprised if our new PM tries to put a block on this. She already warned companies about trying to aquire British companies whilst our currency is in flux due to Brexit.

July 18, 2016 | 05:11 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Considering that the most powerful CPUs that run the ARMv8A ISA are not designed by ARM Holdings in the first place, what is there to lose on the CPU side of the equation. The Apple A7 through A9 and newer where all engineered by mostly P.A. semiconductor engineers(Apple acquired P.A. Semi) and they are all Apple(on the CPU side) under the bonnet. The same can be said for other custom CPU designs that are engineered to run the ARMv8A ISA. AMD’s K12 will be an all AMD design engineered to run the ARMv8A ISA and K12 may even have SMT capabilities.

The only worry is the ARM Mali/BiFrost designs not being licensed to a wider market, as the Mali/Bifrost is very different from the eariler Mali micro-architectures. The Mali/Bifrost designs will be very efficient in the same way that AMD’s GCN based designs are! The Mali/Bifrost being more of a thread level of parallelism based GPU micro-architecture rather than an instruction level parallelism based design of the eariler Mali GPU micro-architectures.

The Japanese are going to be building an exaflops level supercomputer based on a Custom ARMv8A ISA running design, so maybe SoftBank sees a larger future for some extra wider order superscalar custom designs that run the ARMv8A ISA for the HPC/Server market also. If IBM can take the Power RISC ISA and create the Power8 server/HPC cores that can run 8 SMT threads per core for the power8 designs all while having 16 execution ports per core to service those 8 processor threads then a similar custom very wide order superscalar design could be engineered up to run the ARMv8A ISA would not be hard provided there is enough funds to undertake such a project.

There is always MIPS and RISC-V options if SoftBank makes some unwise restrictions regarding the ARMv8A ISA and other ARM holdings CPU/GPU IP. And Apple will not stand idly by if someone attempts to acquire Imagination Technologies to try and lock up the PowerVR GPU IP, Apple is big enough to buy up plenty of SoftBank and other stocks and even more of Imagination Technologies if need be. The ARMv8A ISA is not the only RISC ISA on the planet, not with Power, and MIPS, and RISC-V available. sSo I would not be to worried about what SoftBank is doing, as it appears that ARM Holdings’ business model will be preserved by SoftBank, they would be very foolish to mess with that business model that lead to the ARM IP mobile market dominance.

July 18, 2016 | 05:27 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

No chance. She needs foreign money to build nuclear weapons.

July 19, 2016 | 05:51 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Since the uk.gov have no position in ARMH, Her Majesty's treasury will not see a single cent of that $32Bln price.

July 19, 2016 | 05:59 AM - Posted by JohnGR

Shareholders definitely will love this deal. The question is if the deal secures that ARM will stay in Britain and people will not lose their jobs, tomorrow, or in a few years.

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