Saudi Arabia technology fund hungry for ARM

The Financial Times said Wednesday that Softbank will move 25% of United Kingdom -based ARM, which it bought a year ago for $32.4 billion, to its Vision Fund in an effort to engage Abu Dhabi's state-owned Mubadala investment fund, according to the paper's sources.

Other investors in the fund include Apple and Qualcomm, two of ARM's biggest and best-known licensees, who wanted an indirect stake in the company, as well as Hon Hai Precision, the Taiwanese company better known by its Foxconn brand name.

It is understood that the transfer of Arm shares will come on top of the $25 billion that SoftBank plans to contribute to the...

"Arm is certainly a strong technology company with great, continued potential".

Both ARM and Softbank have refused to comment on the reports. The newspaper said that the Abu Dhabi state-backed investment group Mubadala, from which the SoftBank Vision Fund is seeking a financial commitment, had expressed interest in owning part of ARM.

The FT said the British government, which backed the initial takeover, had been notified of the transaction and did not raise any concerns. While completing the acquisition, the Japanese conglomerate made numerous commitments as a part of the deal, which included that it would keep the ARM headquarters in Cambridge.

However, some questioned whether the United Kingdom was selling the crown jewels of its tech sector to a foreign investor at a low price.

The $100bn target for the fund, and the speed with which it is being assembled, represents a new frontier for venture capital and private equity. SoftBank is in talks to invest $3bn in WeWork, a shared office-space company, at a valuation of about $17bn, which would also be offered to the fund if it is agreed, according to one person close to the matter.

  • Todd Kelly