SoftBank has made it known it is looking for suitable investors to take Arm Holdings off its hands. As a backup plan, perhaps if the price isn't right or regulatory issues get in the way, SoftBank may float the chip design and licensing business on the public stock markets to reclaim capital from its 2016 investment.
Last week we heard a couple of things about a possible Arm sale by SoftBank; firstly Apple had ruled out bidding, and secondly Nvidia had approached Softbank as it was interested in acquiring Arm. Today we are hearing that the talks between Nvidia and SoftBank are actually in their "advanced" stages, and other sources are confirming that the deal would be for a sum greater than the US$32bn price Softbank paid back in 2016.
A Bloomberg report today asserts that talks are advanced and the two parties "aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks". It found this out from two people familiar with the matter. Nvidia is the only suitor in such discussions with SoftBank, the sources added.
Though in advanced stages talks could drag on past the above mentioned timeframe, or even be called off altogether, it must be noted. Furthermore, one must remember that there are regulatory hurdles and so on to cross - if a deal is agreed by the parties involved. It sounds like if the Nvidia deal does fall through then Arm could be placed on the stock market as early as next year.
The FT shared some more insider information from its unnamed sources a few hours ago. Specifically the possible sale price was flagged. FT sources said that the deal being hammered out valued Arm at a sum higher than the $32bn price that SoftBank paid for the business in 2016. It would be a deal offering a mix of cash and Nvidia stock, according to these insiders. Nvidia stock has climbed very nicely which wil lbenefit this from the green team's perspective - it is up 151 per cent in the last year.
When SoftBank purchased Arm in 2016 it made a number of commitments - to grow Arm's workforce and retain its Cambridge HQ, for example. Hopefully, these commitments will be passed on, but other than that current employees might a somewhat comforted to know that Nvidia is generally considered to be a great company to work for.