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SoftBank Eyes Potential Sale Or IPO Of Arm: Reports

If Arm becomes a publicly traded company again, it wouldn’t' be a surprise. At its TechCon conference last year, Arm CEO Simon Segars said the company planned to go public again by 2023 — a goal set in place by SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son.

SoftBank Group is looking to potentially sell Arm Holdings or return the British chip designer to the public market through an initial public offering, according to multiple reports.

The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the Japanese conglomerate has begun exploring alternatives for Arm, which could also include a partial sale, with the help from Goldman Sachs. The newspaper noted that SoftBank may ultimately decide to do nothing.

The news comes less than a week after Arm, based in Cambridge, U.K., announced that it plans to spin off its IoT software units into new SoftBank-owned entities to focus on its core chip design business.

Arm declined to comment. SoftBank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

[Related: Ampere's New 128-Core Altra CPU Targets Intel, AMD In The Cloud]

If Arm becomes a publicly traded company again, it wouldn’t' be a surprise. At its TechCon conference last year, Arm CEO Simon Segars said the company planned to go public again by 2023 — a goal set in place by SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son. The Telegraph, a British newspaper, reported on July 5 that SoftBank is looking to potentially list Arm on the Nasdaq exchange.

SoftBank acquired Arm in 2016 for $32 billion in cash. At the time, Son said the deal was sought because of the company's unique foundational technology and its growth potential in the IoT market.

While Arm dominates the smartphone market, the company has been looking to expand into the PC and server markets through silicon partners, who pay license fees to develop processors based on the company's IP. These efforts were recently boosted by Apple's announcement that it would use Arm-based CPUs for new Macs launching later this year. The company's semiconductor IP is also used for Fujitsu's server CPUs that power the Fugaku supercomputer, newly minted as the fastest in the world.

When the company announced last week that it plans to transfer its two IoT Services Group businesses to new entities under SoftBank, the company said the move would drive growth and profitability by allowing it to "deepen its focus on its core semiconductor IP business." The company said the business transfer is expected to be completed by September, though it will first need to undergo board review, customary closing conditions and consultation with local staff representatives.

"Arm believes there are great opportunities in the symbiotic growth of data and compute," Segars said in a statement regarding the IoT spin-off plan last week. "Arm would be in a stronger position to innovate in our core IP roadmap and provide our partners with greater support to capture the expanding opportunities for compute solutions across a range of markets."

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