SoftBank is reportedly assessing spin-off options for its semiconductor firm, Arm Holdings. The Wall Street Journal reports from its sources that those options include having an initial public offering or a sale. The Japanese tech conglomerate picked up Arm back in 2016 for $32 billion and currently shares some ownership with investors in the SoftBank Vision Fund.
The moves are being considered as SoftBank fends off challenges from activist investment house Elliott Management over major losses for its Vision Fund, including WeWork's attempted IPO. SoftBank is supposedly targeting $41 billion in immediate fundraising through share buybacks and divestitures. Depending on Arm's current prospectus, a sale could be more likely to happen than an IPO.
Arm is gearing up for a raft of short-term missions including blueprinting Apple's future computing architecture and further adaptations to smaller dies for its Cortex CPU products. Last week, the chip designer transferred its IoT business groups — a sector that SoftBank pushed Arm to lead — to its parent proper to focus on its core businesses.
The British company was founded in 1990 and began trading publicly in 1998. In 2018, SoftBank told investors (via the Financial Times) it intended on re-listing Arm within 5 years.
- Wall Street Journal