Look at your smartphone. Odds are very, very good that it's running a chip with ARM-designed components, or at least the ARM instruction set. UK-based ARM Holdings has become an integral part of mobile computing, and Japan's SoftBank wants a piece of that. The companies announced today that SoftBank will acquire ARM Holdings for about $32 billion.
This deal is by far the largest for SoftBank (which also has controlling interest in Sprint), and one of the largest for any Japanese company. SoftBank is offering £17 per share for ARM Holdings, a 43% premium over the closing price on Friday. In response to the deal, ARM's value on the London exchange has jumped 45%. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said the deal is aimed at giving the company clout not only in mobile devices, but also the emerging "internet of things" ecosystem. Apparently this is something Son is quite keen on. SoftBank notes that it intends to double ARM's UK employee base in the next five years, while also expanding overseas.
This deal comes at an interesting time. Intel recently announced plans to scale back its mobile efforts, and the value of the Pound fell sharply after the Brexit vote. However, SoftBank says this deal has been in the works for some time and was not a response to the recent weakness of the Pound. For consumers, this deal probably won't have any immediate impact. ARM doesn't actually make the chips in your smartphone, it just creates and licenses the designs and instruction set.