SoftBank recently approached Apple to gauge Cupertino’s interest in bidding for chip design firm ARM Limited, Bloomberg News reports, citing “people familiar with the discussions.”
Earlier this month, SoftBank hired Goldman Sachs to advise it on a potential IPO or sale of chip designer Arm Holdings which it acquired in 2016 for about $32 billion.
The two firms had preliminary discussions, but Apple isn’t planning to pursue a bid. Arm’s licensing operation would fit poorly with Apple’s hardware focused business model. There may also be regulatory concerns about Apple owning a key licensee that supplies so many rivals.
SoftBank acquired Arm in 2016 for $32 billion. That’s more than 10 times larger than Apple’s biggest acquisition to date, its $3 billion deal for Beats Electronics LLC in 2014.
Apple has been involved in similar situations with other partners in the past. When Toshiba Corp. was selling its flash memory business in 2017, Apple invested as part of a consortium.
MacDailyNews Take: We’ll see where SoftBank’s sale goes, but, if they sell ARM, due to competitive issues, it just might have to be to an as-yet-to-be-formed consortium, in which Apple would likely be a participant.