Japan's SoftBank to acquire UK processor giant ARM in $32 billion deal

Japanese telecommunications giant SoftBank has agreed to buy ARM Holdings - the British company that designs processors used in a vast range of devices around the world - in a deal worth £24.3 billion GBP (around $32 billion USD).

The acquisition is the largest to date for SoftBank, which previously spent over $20 billion for a majority stake in US carrier Sprint. It's also a pretty big deal for the UK's technology sector, in which ARM is widely seen as one of its important companies.

Processor technology designed by ARM has come to dominate the global mobile device market, and can be found not just in smartphones - including Apple's iPhones - but also tablets, notebooks, servers, wearables and many other types of devices, as well as networking equipment. ARM earns royalties for the use of its chip designs by manufacturers.

But SoftBank's acquisition is also fuelled by a desire to gain a foothold in the nascent Internet of Things market. ARM's power-efficient chip designs are expected to be in great demand as the market for connected appliances expands in the coming years.

SoftBank has committed to keep ARM's headquarters in Cambridge, England, along with its senior management, and pledged to double the number of staff working there over the next five years, as well as creating a further 1,500 jobs outside the UK. ARM currently employs around 3,000 people.

According to Bloomberg, SoftBank had been considering its purchase of ARM for some time, and the UK's recent decision to leave the European Union 'wasn't a factor' in its decision to proceed with the takeover. The result of the 'Brexit' referendum led to a weakening of the pound sterling, making international acquisitions of UK companies more attractive to foreign investors anticipating an eventual recovery.

Source: ARM/SoftBank

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