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ARM sells for an arm and a leg

by on18 July 2016

It’s not good news

The decision to sell ARM to SoftBank for £24.3 billion has been deprecated by its founder, Hermann Hauser, but praised by the new British prime minister, Theresa May.

ARM span out of Acorn in 1990 as a lean and mean team that designed but never manufactured microprocessors.

Its designs were good and gave smartphone companies like Apple and Samsung a way to license the technology without being in the arms of a monopolistic giant like the American firm Intel.

ARM was one of just a few British tech successes and took the opportunity of mistakes made by Intel to ramp up the pressure and, incidentally, to increase its profile in tech journalism too.

SoftBank has pledged to keep the British management team and also to keep employees in Cambridge. It also made a strange pledge to double the amount of the workforce over the next five years but it’s unclear why SoftBank thinks this is a smart thing to do.

Share holders of ARM stock benefited because the price SoftBank paid was at a premium of around 45 percent compared to Friday. The deal was accepted by the ARM board and an announcement made early this morning. Its share price rose by 45 percent when the London Stock Exchange opened this morning.

Hauser tweeted on the news: “ARM is the proudest achievement of my life. The proposed sale to SoftBank is a sad day for me and for technology in Britain.”

Theresa May, UK prime minister, welcomed the deal because, she claimed, it showed that the recent referendum over remaining in the European Union didn’t spell doom and gloom for British business.

But it’s unclear what SoftBank’s future plans for ARM are - there are vague mutterings of it being a player in the internet of things.

But everyone vaguely mutters about that.

Last modified on 18 July 2016
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