SK Hynix considering consortium to acquire chip designer Arm -CEO to Yonhap

FILE PHOTO: Employees walk past the logo of SK Hynix at its headquarters in Seongnam
FILE PHOTO: Employees walk past the logo of SK Hynix at its headquarters in Seongnam, South Korea, April 25, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/

March 30, 2022

By Joyce Lee

SEOUL (Reuters) -South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix’s CEO said on Wednesday that it is considering forming a consortium with strategic investors to acquire British semiconductor company Arm Ltd, Yonhap news agency reported.

“I don’t believe Arm is a company that could be bought by one company,” Yonhap cited SK Hynix Vice Chairman and co-CEO Park Jung-ho as saying.

Park’s remarks mean a theoretical review as part of a response to a press query after SK Hynix’s annual shareholders meeting, and does not refer to a specific plan or any ongoing review, SK Hynix said in a statement.

Arm declined to comment.

SoftBank Group Corp is planning to pick Goldman Sachs Group Inc as lead underwriter on the initial public offering (IPO) of Arm that could value it at as much as $60 billion, sources told Reuters earlier.

SoftBank has said it will likely list Arm on Nasdaq by March 2023. The IPO preparations come after SoftBank’s deal to sell Arm to Nvidia Corp for $40 billion was scuppered last month due to objections from U.S. and European antitrust regulators.

Arm is planning to transfer shares in its Chinese joint venture to a SoftBank Group special purpose vehicle to speed up its initial public offering plans, The Financial Times reported on Wednesday.

This move, if successful, will leave the joint venture tied to Arm headquarters through a licensing agreement, instead of the 47.3% equity stake it holds now, and allow the British chip designing company to continue to get licensing revenues from Arm China but make it unnecessary to audit the unit’s financials, the report said.

SoftBank did not immediately respond.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Additional reporting by Sam Nussey in Tokyo and Maria Ponnezhath in Bengaluru; Editing by Louise Heavens)