SoftBank May Be Selling Arm, But Apple Isn’t Interested

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SoftBank, the company that owns chip designer Arm Holdings, is exploring options that could include a full or partial sale of Arm, according to rumors, but Apple isn’t interested in purchasing the company.


In a report on Nvidia’s possible interest in Arm, Bloomberg says that SoftBank approached Apple to see if Apple might want to buy Arm. The two companies reportedly had preliminary discussions, but Apple does not plan to pursue a bid because of Arm’s licensing requirements and possible regulatory concerns.

The two firms had preliminary discussions, but Apple isn’t planning to pursue a bid. That’s because Arm’s licensing operation would fit poorly with Apple’s hardware and software business model. There may also be regulatory concerns about Apple owning a key licensee that supplies so many rivals. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.

Apple licenses Arm technology for the A-series chips in its iPhones and iPads, and is also planning to use Arm chips in future Macs, with a transition starting later this year.

According to Bloomberg, Nvidia has approached SoftBank to discuss a potential deal for Arm, but other bidders could potentially emerge. SoftBank is also considering a public stock listing as an alternative to a private sale.

A potential sale to Nvidia or another copany would not likely have a major impact on Apple or Apple’s licensing of Arm technology because of the regulatory oversight and requirements that would accompany such a deal.

Companies that use Arm technology at the current time also would not be in favor of a deal that does not include assurances that Arm’s instruction set will continue to be available for equal licensing opportunities.

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