SoftBank Group to acquire ARM for about 29 billion euro (24 billion GBP)

18 Jul 2016 Cambridge - The SoftBank Group (SGB) from Japan has come to an agreement to acquire ARM Holdings plc in the UK for about 29 billion euro (24 billion GPB). ARM will become a wholly owned subsidiary of SGB. The merger is expected to be completed by the end of September. The fall of the British Pound after the Brexit a few weeks ago, makes ARM shares about 30% cheaper in other currencies like the Japanese Yen. ARM is by far the largest European chip architecture maker. ARM is also active in HPC. Recently Fujitsu in Japan announced that they are working on using ARM based chips for the Post K supercomputer under development. ARM is also used in several European exascale computing development projects, including Mont-Blanc, Exanest, and Exanode.

SoftBank has acquired ARM mainly because of the development of the Internet-of-Things where the embedded chips of ARM play an important role. What will be the impact on HPC is unclear. SoftBank says they want to increase the server market presence of ARM. Energy efficiency is becoming more and more important for servers in data centres. So it is an important growth market for ARM, a SoftBank spokesman said, with many chips in future cars they become a supercomputer on their own. SoftBank also expects that, not being a publicly owned company anymore can also lead to be more aggressive on R&D.

Most of the revenues of ARM are in USD. That is not affected by the Brexit.

SoftBank intends to keep the ARM headquarters in Cambridge, UK. The number of employees in the UK will be doubled in 5 years time to about 3.200 headcount.

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