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18 July, 2016 - 05:45 By Tony Quested

Japanese agree $31bn ARM acquisition

arm holdings, cambridge, softbank

Cambridge’s greatest ever technology business – chip architect ARM Holdings – is reportedly being sold to the Japanese for $31 billion (£23.4bn) – the largest deal in the UK cluster’s history by some distance and the biggest in European technology annals.

Global media were reporting overnight that the deal would be confirmed today with SoftBank Group the buyer. It is understood SoftBank wants ARM for a push into the Internet of Things arena in which the Cambridge company is a leading player.

ARM has enhanced that status with recent major acquisitions of its own and by rolling out new technologies in the segment as CEO Simon Segars looked to strengthen the group’s portfolio.

The company, which already employs 4,000 people globally, is in the process of building a new Cambridge headquarters. It is too early to ascertain SoftBank’s plans for the business which celebrated its 25th anniversary last year.

ARM was spun out of the iconic Acorn in Cambridge in November 1990 and supplies chips to all the world’s leading tech innovators, including Samsung, Apple and Huawei – all three of whom now have a Cambridge presence following acquisitions of their own.

The company has been tracked by US tech giants and arch rival Intel, as well as Apple, were believed to be interested.

SoftBank’s swoop for ARM may have been hastened by the UK’s Brexit vote which sent the pound tumbling to record lows and gave the yen a position of strength over sterling.

International media sources, including the Financial Times, are reporting that SoftBank has agreed to pay a massive premium to get ARM – reportedly £17 in cash for each share – a premium of more than 40 percent to Friday's close.

Japanese based Brother Industries recently completed the integration of Cambridge inkjet printing company Domino and Takeda and Sosei have life science interests in the cluster.
 

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