The company behind Apple's iPhone chip sells for £24 billion

In a huge tech acquisition, SoftBank has swallowed ARM

IPhone 6S

There's always been speculation about whether hugely successful British tech firm ARM (which designs chips for the iPhone and many other devices) would be snapped up – Apple has been linked to takeover rumours in the past, for example – but now it's happened, with Japanese company SoftBank swallowing ARM for a mammoth £24 billion (around $32 billion, AU$42 billion).

The acquisition will be all-cash and based on a price of £17 for each ARM share, which represents a 43% premium over the closing price last Friday. ARM's board of directors has confirmed it will unanimously recommend the deal to shareholders (of course, the move will also be subject to the usual regulatory scrutiny).

Telecoms giant SoftBank (which already owns numerous tech companies, including Sprint over in the US) promised that ARM's headquarters would stay in Cambridge, and that it would "preserve" the organisation as it is – meaning ARM will remain an independent business and keep the existing senior management and company culture.

What's more, SoftBank pledged to at least double the number of ARM employees in the UK over the next five years, and to boost the number of staff outside of the UK, as well.

ARM-ing up

Masayoshi Son, Chairman and CEO of SoftBank, commented: "We have long admired ARM as a world renowned and highly respected technology company that is by some distance the market-leader in its field. ARM will be an excellent strategic fit within the SoftBank group as we invest to capture the very significant opportunities provided by the Internet of Things."

Stuart Chambers, Chairman of ARM, said: "The Board of ARM is reassured that ARM will remain a very significant UK business and will continue to play a key role in the development of new technology."

He added: "ARM is an outstanding company with an exceptional track record of growth. The Board believes that by accessing all the resources that SoftBank has to offer, ARM will be able to further accelerate the use of ARM-based technology wherever computing happens."

This is another major tech acquisition for 2016, coming after Microsoft bought LinkedIn last month for $26 billion (around £20 billion, AU$34 billion). There's no shortage of money flying around, that's for sure.

Interestingly, when Apple was rumoured to be looking at picking up ARM back in 2010, speculation pegged the price at around £3 billion (at that time, shares in the UK chip giant stood at 243p – compared to 1189p today).

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