Softbank to acquire Apple chip designing partner ARM for $32 billion

“In a massive deal valued at $32 billion, Japanese company Softbank announced on Monday that it will acquire ARM Holdings, the company that designs specifications for low-power mobile processors, including the A-series chips found in Apple’s iPhone and iPad,” Neil Hughes reports for AppleInsider.

“The deal is moving forward with unanimous support from both Softbank’s board of directors, as well as ARM’s management team,” Hughes reports. “U.K.-based ARM will sell for £24 billion, with Softbank financing the deal through £16.7 billion cash on hand and £7.3 billion in the form of a loan.”

“Softbank also announced on Monday that it plans to double ARM’s U.K. headcount over the next five years,” Hughes reports. “It also intends to maintain ARM’s neutrality and independence, which could suggest the deal won’t affect ARM’s ongoing relationship with Apple.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Hopefully this will be a deal that benefits Apple and all parties going forward.


  1. No doubt Apple runs IOS on Intel processors and probably are designing their own, non-ARM versions as well. Big move by Softbank, although not sure what benefit this gives either company.

  2. People are overstating Apple’s reliance on ARM.

    ARM does not design any significant part of Apple’s A series processors.

    To be specific, Apple has had, over the years, used less and less of ARM’s hardware designs. Apple’s in house team has more and more done the hardware designs for Apple’s A series chips. At this stage the hardware designs are vastly Apple only. Apple’s A series processors are more properly defined as ARM derivative chips rather than ARM chips. Apple’s in house design capabilities got a huge boost when they acquired the PA Semi guys.

    Apple licenses the ARM instruction set and specific technologies associated with those.

    Many others that use ARM derivative processors use various levels of ARM’s hardware designs (some going so far as to use 100% of ARM’s reference hardware designs). Those organizations are the ones needing to be most concerned about this purchase by Softbank.

    Starting back in the early 90s Apple owned a very large chunk of ARM, over 25% at one point, if I remember correctly. During the dark days and the climb out from those days, Apple systematically sold off part of its stake in ARM in order to have a better financial status. I doubt Apple owns any significant stake in ARM today.

    1. Thanks for this review. I’ve been reading the press reports about this and been a bit irritated that the writers keep implying that processors in iOS devices come from ARM. ARM is very important, but the A-Series SOC that powers Apple’s devices is a lot more than what came from ARM.

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