Yesterday, we reported that SoftBank struck a deal to buy ARM, the UK mobile chip company whose architecture and designs can be found in almost all phones on the market today. In a press conference today, the CEO of SoftBank, Masayoshi Son, said that SoftBank’s decision to buy ARM had nothing to do with Brexit.
Following the news that SoftBank, a Japanese conglomerate that also owns and operates Sprint in the US, is set to buy ARM in a behemoth $32 billion deal, people started to wonder if Brexit and its consequent impact on the pound sterling had something to do with the decision.
In a press conference soon after the news, Son explained that he started the negotiation for the acquisition with the CEO of ARM, Stuart Chambers, only two weeks ago. Even though that was after the UK referendum to leave the EU, Son clarified that in fact, Brexit did not affect his decision:
Many people are worried about Brexit and concerned about the complex situation of the country, but good or bad… I did not make the investment because of Brexit.
He also added that even though the value of the pound sterling went down by approximately 16%, ARM’s share actually went up by a similar amount, meaning the acquisition of ARM after the referendum was not necessarily a financial gain for SoftBank.
Son shed some light on the future direction of ARM under SoftBank by explaining that because SoftBank does not make or buy chips, the acquisition would not pose as a conflict of interest between SoftBank and major manufacturers such as Apple, Samsung, and Qualcomm.
SoftBank’s acquisition of ARM could mean big things for Masayoshi Son and his company. First, it may become a useful tool for Sprint, which has been struggling to keep up with Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile in the US. Perhaps more importantly, with IoT technology proving itself to be a market with huge potential, ARM chips will no doubt play an indispensable role in smart cars and home appliances.
Son makes it clear that the precarious economic situation in the UK did not influence his decision to acquire ARM, but regardless, the surprise $32 billion deal would put SoftBank in the frontlines of the next wave of digital innovation.