Why it matters: It’s the biggest question in the tech world right now: who will buy Arm? It looks as if Nvidia is leading the race to make one of the biggest acquisitions in recent years, but according to a new report, the UK chipmaker has reached out to other firms to gauge interest, including Apple suppliers Foxconn and TSMC.
It was last month when we learned that Softbank was looking to offload the company it paid $31 billion for back in 2016. The Japanese conglomerate has been selling some of its assets recently as the Coronavirus-related economic downturn bites. After holdings in Alibaba Group and T-Mobile were sold off, it was time to sell part or all of its stake in Arm—and Nvidia remains the most likely buyer.
According to a report in the Nikkei Asian Review, however, Team Green isn’t the only one in the running for Arm. According to “people familiar with the discussions,” Softbank has contacted a number of big tech players regarding a possible sale. In addition to Nvidia, the company has also approached TSMC, Foxconn, Apple, and Qualcomm.
It appears that Softbank believes Nvidia, TSMC, and Foxconn are the most likely companies to make a move as they were sent select financial data and projections by Arm to encourage a purchase or investment. The Taiwanese giants are said to be monitoring the Nvidia talks, though both would prefer to take a stake in Arm, rather than make an outright purchase.
Softbank’s bankers have reportedly talked to Chinese companies about a deal, too, but Sino-US tensions mean any transactions are doubtful.
While Apple’s move to an Arm-based Mac might have made buying the chipmaker an enticing prospect, Cupertino is reportedly not interested, and Samsung has denied reports it was looking to take a small stake. Ultimately, it seems that Nvidia remains the most likely firm to make an acquisition, despite the objections of Arm’s co-founder.