Masayoshi Son, the founder and CEO of SoftBank Group, said on Thursday that he intends to meet with Samsung Electronics to discuss a possible "strategic agreement" between the South Korean IT giant and chip designer Arm.
According to Son, the billionaire will make his first visit to Seoul in three years. "I''d like to talk with Samsung about a strategic alliance."
According to newswire News1, Son "may make a proposal" on a visit planned next month. Samsung has declined to comment on the findings.
Arm, which is capable of operating Apple''s iPhone and other smartphones, was purchased in 2016 for $32 billion (roughly Rs. 2,58,663 crore). A subsequent proposal to sell Arm to Nvidia provoked widespread regulatory challenges, prompting SoftBank to outline intentions for a US listing of the Cambridge-based company.
The trip comes amidst concerns about the possibility of forming a legal organization to invest in Arm and ensure its neutrality.
"There must be someone in the middle specializing in bringing diverse corporations together," said Lee Min-hee, an analyst at BNK Investment & Securities.
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"It''s possible that businesses interested in buying a piece of Arm might pay less for a pre-IPO placement," he added.
SoftBank, a technology firm, has raised money in a massive loss to its Vision Fund investment division and lost its share in Alibaba Group Holding.
Attempts to list the chip designer have come as markets are sluggish due to rising interest rates and Russia''s invasion of Ukraine. The Philadelphia SE Semiconductor Index has slumped by about a third for the year to this day.
Samsung might be in good hands if an alliance with Arm is made, as the market leader in memory chips invests heavily to try to find an alternative to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co in logic chips.
The South Korean company is still being hampered by technical limitations in original technology for non-memory chips, such as application processor architecture, Arm focuses on.
Intel, whose Chief Executive Pat Gelsinger expressed interest in joining a consortium to purchase the chip designer, is among the other possible Arm suitors.
According to Yonhap news agency, Samsung rival SK Hynix expressed interest in Arm. In March, Vice President Park Jung-ho stated that the chipmaker was contemplating forming a consortium to buy Arm. The company claimed at the time that the comment did not mention a specific plan.
Qualcomm Inc, which has been cited as a potential investor, is being sued by Arm, which alleges that it violated license agreements and trademark infringement.
In a letter to clients, the discord may cast a shadow over an Arm listing.
"Arm is unlikely to require all its customers on the ground to get a high valuation," he said.
In 2022, Thomson Reuters will be able to confirm that it is holding a stake in the market.