Qualcomm Plans To Build Consortium To Buy ARM

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Chipmaker Qualcomm has announced plans to purchase British chip design firm ARM from Japan’s Softbank. However, it is taking a different approach to the acquisition by forming a consortium of companies instead of buying the entire company outright by itself, following NVIDIA’s failed attempt.

CEO Cristiano Amon said by joining forces and forming a “big enough” consortium, each participating company would have a small enough stake that the net effect would be that ARM is effectively independent. Amon has not yet named any particular company that will be included in this consortium and has not even talked to Softbank yet, so it might still be in the early stages of planning.

ARM chipset
[Photo: ARM]

Back in 2020, NVIDIA announced a US$40 billion (~RM166 billion) acquisition of ARM, but after objections by both UK and US authorities in fear of competition being stifled. The purchase ultimately fell through and NVIDIA gave up on its plan, paying US$1.25 billion (~RM5.23 billion) to SoftBank for not following through with the deal.

Afterwards, Softbank announced that it would be taking ARM public by 31 March 2023 on the New York Stock Exchange. The chip designer was previously listed on NYSE and the London Stock Exchange before Softbank acquired it for GBP 23.4 billion (~RM129 billion) in 2016.

Qualcomm NVIDIA ARM Softbank Investment
[Photo: Qualcomm]

Qualcomm’s intention to buy ARM is a bit ironic, seeing as how it strongly opposed to NVIDIA’s acquisition plan over the same concern that it could harm competition. Even before the deal officially failed, Qualcomm said it was interested in investing in ARM if it ever goes public.

Talks about a consortium to acquire ARM started popping up not long after Nvidia’s attempt collapsed, with South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix and Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger also expressing interest in participating in such a move. That being said, Gelsinger revealed that the consortium had been discussed among industry players even before NVIDIA made its proposal.

(Source: Financial Times)

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