Here’s the SoftBank dog guarding the entrance to the company’s Ginza store in Tokyo, Japan—taken by yours truly last winter. I know SoftBank as the Japanese carrier that snagged exclusive Japanese rights to the iPhone back in 2008. Others may know SoftBank as the controlling stakeholder in U.S. carrier Sprint. Now, after an all-cash deal announced this morning, we’ll all know SoftBank as the new owner of ARM Holdings, designers of the chip likely to be powering the smartphone that you’re using right now.
The Verge notes that ARM is a much smaller company than its nearest rival, Intel, but also has much less overhead since it doesn’t actually manufacture its own chips—instead licensing its designs to manufacturers like Qualcomm.
A British Pound weakened by Brexit results was the likely motivator for the deal, valued at over $30 billion USD. It’s worth mentioning that SoftBank paid a premium of 43% per share for their acquisition.
But why buy ARM at all? Here’s SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son to explain, via Android Central:
We have long admired ARM as a world renowned and highly respected technology company that is by some distance the market-leader in its field. ARM will be an excellent strategic fit within the SoftBank group as we invest to capture the very significant opportunities provided by the “Internet of Things”.
This is one of the most important acquisitions we have ever made, and I expect ARM to be a key pillar of SoftBank’s growth strategy going forward.