Array
(
    [content] => 
    [params] => Array
        (
            [0] => /forum/index.php?threads/who-is-really-buying-arm.12848/
        )

    [addOns] => Array
        (
            [DL6/MLTP] => 13
            [Hampel/JobRunner] => 1030170
            [SV/ChangePostDate] => 2010200
            [SemiWiki/Newsletter] => 1000010
            [SemiWiki/WPMenu] => 1000010
            [SemiWiki/XPressExtend] => 1000010
            [ThemeHouse/XLink] => 1000670
            [ThemeHouse/XPress] => 1010394
            [XF] => 2011072
            [XFI] => 1030270
        )

    [wordpress] => /var/www/html
)

Who is Really buying ARM?

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member

People in the know who are either breaking a very serious NDA or ethically challenged media outlets that are just making stuff up have said ARM is for sale and NVIDIA is the leading acquisition candidate. Apple and Samsung have also been mentioned amongst others.

Last I heard from my Arm friends they were working towards an IPO, which would make complete sense, to get clear of Softerbank. I also see the opportunity for an acquisition once a company is marching towards IPO. In fact, some companies march towards an IPO with the goal of being acquired.

Personally I would rather see an independent Arm but I do see some acquisitions that make sense. Nvidia, Apple, and Samsung are not any of those, not even close. Other options that won't wake the much feared antitrust monster:

TSMC and Intel would be interesting. A dedicate Arm foundry would be a formidable SoC stronghold. Of course you could manufacture Arm anywhere but at the dedicated foundry the customer could be in the inner IP and Foundry circle. Apple for example, already in the ARM and TSMC inner circle, would have a one stop shop. Maybe the US Government would rather have local ARM foundry so Intel may have an edge here.

EDA companies are also a possibility. Semiconductor IP keeps Synopsys in the EDA pole position. Acquiring Arm would make Synopsys the indisputable king of IP. Cadence could use Arm to better compete with Synopsys and Mentor Siemens could get back into the IP game in a big way.

Thoughts?

This could be a disruptive force in the semiconductor industry and I think it is worth discussing, absolutely.

Other Arm coverage on SemiWiki.com
 
Last edited:

prime007

Member
I've heard from a lot of amateur armchair "analysts" on Twitter say that IF the industry doesn't like the ARM's next owner, companies could easily switch to using the RISC-V architecture. I have NO EXPERTISE in the semiconductor industry but I imagine it would take a few years (maybe?) for RISC-V to catch up to where ARM is now.

I, too, would like to see an independent ARM again. If TSMC were to attempt to buy ARM, I feel Samsung would be screaming "antitrust". If Intel were to buy ARM, I would expect to see a x86/ARM hybrid chip in our future.

It's interesting that Hermann Hauser (man who spun off ARM from Acorn Computers in 1990) has said that a sale to Nvidia would be a disaster.
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53637463
 

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
The leading edge SoC companies cannot switch to RISC-V, especially Apple. Too much has been invested and RISC-V is not a high performance architecture.

I also don't think TSMC could pull it off. Too much money and it would be a distraction from their core business. Unless of course Apple, Nvidia, etc... asked TSMC to buy Arm then it would happen, absolutely.

No way could Samsung pull it off nor could they stop TSMC and partners.

Cadence could pull it off. CEO Lip-Bu Tan could definitely arrange the financing and it would be a great feather in his cap.

Synopsys would be a good fit but the price would be out of their league and it is a very different IP business than what they do.

Mentor/Siemens has the money but not the IP smarts, not even close.

It would be a serious coupe for Intel and guarantee them a scalable architecture for mobile and cloud. As you said an x86/ARM hybrid. It would also have the "made in the USA" seal of approval, if that is ever worth anything in the semiconductor industry.

Just my opinion of course.....


I've heard from a lot of amateur armchair "analysts" on Twitter say that IF the industry doesn't like the ARM's next owner, companies could easily switch to using the RISC-V architecture. I have NO EXPERTISE in the semiconductor industry but I imagine it would take a few years (maybe?) for RISC-V to catch up to where ARM is now.

I, too, would like to see an independent ARM again. If TSMC were to attempt to buy ARM, I feel Samsung would be screaming "antitrust". If Intel were to buy ARM, I would expect to see a x86/ARM hybrid chip in our future.

It's interesting that Hermann Hauser (man who spun off ARM from Acorn Computers in 1990) has said that a sale to Nvidia would be a disaster.
https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-53637463
 

Portland

Member
Everything intel is making at 10 nm is selling out and let's be honest it's not made in america. The petty and catty behaviors in American companies as well as the public sector have been out of control for decades and we're seeing the results. It would be arm architecture at 14 nm.

There are so many companies dependent on arm architecture apple, amazon, Facebook, google, atlas manufacturing, ...... it's a long list. Intel buying arm or any company buying arm would cause a void and uncertainty. The only thing is maybe arm is over-the-hill.
 

Fred Chen

Moderator
The alleged sale intention implies Softbank seems to think it's too expensive to maintain and IoT business not as hot as expected. Unexpected sale of otherwise well-known unit, always carries a message of caveat emptor. The buyer should have a vision of how to integrate it better than the previous owner, for example, new products.
 
Last edited:

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
 

prime007

Member
A summary from a couple articles (Source 1 & Source 2) on Nikkei Asian Review...

Arm China is 51% owned by Chinese interests*. Arm controls the remaining 49%. The $775 million sale of Arm's Chinese operations in 2018 was viewed as a significant victory for Beijing to secure crucial semiconductor technology, as Arm's chip design infrastructure serves as the chip foundation for almost all the world's mobile devices.

Arm China plays a strategic role in Beijing's attempt to build a self-reliant semiconductor industry. It took over all of Arm's licenses and royalties businesses in the country, and is directly responsible for dealing with key Chinese customers, includig Huawei Technologies. All of Huawei's chip designs -- including all of the Kirin mobile processors used in its premium smartphones -- are based on Arm's intellectual property and chip blueprint infrastructure.

*- Ownership includes:
Hopu Investment Management - a well-known Chinese venture capital firm
Silk Road Fund - state owned investment fund of the Chinese government to foster increased investment in countries along the One Belt, One Road
China Investment Corporation - sovereign wealth fund
Shum Yip Group - Shenzhen government-owned conglomerate
 

Fred Chen

Moderator
Any chance Softbank can keep ARM longer in status quo? Any future acquisition of ARM will be antitrust or unpopular.
 

prime007

Member
I think the problem may be the lack of return (so far) for ARM. SoftBank acquired Arm Holdings for around $32 billion in 2016. According to some media reports, the SoftBank and Nvidia are currently discussing a cash-and-stock deal valued at more than $32 billion.

Masayoshi Son's (SoftBank's CEO) promise to Mohammad bin Salman (currently the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia) was "You invest a $100 billion to my fund [The Vision Fund]. I give you a trillion dollars". So far, I'd imagine Saudi Arabia currently being none to happy with its investment. SoftBank probably wants to invest the funds in high(er) growth companies.
 

count

Active member
Intel or TSMC buying ARM would lead to serious antitrust concerns. I could see Microsoft or Google buying them.
 

prime007

Member
Well...apparently, TSMC is looking at buying (a portion of) Arm. What makes this interesting (according to Nikkei Asian Review) is that Softbank contacted TSMC and Foxconn about a possible sale of Arm. Sources have also indicated that Apple and Samsung were not interested in Arm. It appears neither TSMC or Foxconn are interested in acquiring Arm entirely.
 

count

Active member
Could this actually be just a maneuver of Softbank to inflate ARM Holdings’ potential IPO value?
I think this is more likely, the list of potential acquirers that 1. could afford to buy them and 2. wouldn't raise antitrust concerns and 3. wouldn't scare off ARM licencees is very very small. It might even be a null set.
 
Top