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SoftBank founder to meet Lee Jae-yong next month for possible ARM deal

Business
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Last updated: September 21st, 2022 at 14:44 UTC+01:00

Samsung’s Lee Jae-yong will meet with SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son in Seoul next month. Mr. Son will visit South Korea’s capital city in October, and the media is questioning whether the meeting with Samsung’s leader might have anything to do with a possible acquisition of the British chip designer ARM.

During an interview at the Seoul Gimpo Business Aviation Center earlier today, Lee Jae-yong confirmed that “next month, Son is expected to visit Seoul.” When asked whether Masayoshi Son’s visit relates to SoftBank’s plans to sell ARM, Lee answered: “Probably, Son might come up with such a proposal, but I have no idea what it is.” (via The Korea Herald)

Lee Jae-yong held the interview as he returned from a two-week trip to Mexico, Panama, Canada, and the UK. He said he did not meet any ARM officials during his stay in the United Kingdom. Meanwhile, his visits to Mexico and Panama were related to Samsung’s bid to host World Expo 2030 in South Korea.

Samsung might not be interested in buying ARM after all

ARM’s parent company, SoftBank, initially planned to sell the chip business to Nvidia. However, the deal fell through earlier this year due o several reasons, including fears of technologies leaking and national security threats. SoftBank is now looking for other potential ARM buyers.

Samsung appeared to be a prime candidate for acquiring ARM, but more recently, market watchers have come to believe that the Korean tech giant has no good reason to spend tens of billions of dollars to acquire ARM. Such an acquisition could disrupt Samsung’s foundry business, as global fabless companies might stop wanting to contract Samsung for fear of exposing their trade secrets.

SoftBank Group became the controlling shareholder of ARM in September 2016 after the two companies struck a $32 billion deal, and initial negotiations with Nvidia began in 2020.

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