Nvidia Interested in Buying SoftBank's Arm Chip Designer

SoftBank is reportedly exploring options to sell part or all of its stake in chip designer Arm. Nvidia is interested, a media report says.
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Nvidia  (NVDA) - Get Report is reportedly interested in acquiring Arm Ltd., the semiconductor designer owned by Japanese investment group SoftBank Group.

Shares of Nvidia at last check were up 1.2% at $418.

Nvidia made an approach in recent weeks about a potential deal for Cambridge, England-based Arm, Bloomberg reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

SoftBank is exploring options to sell part or all of its stake in Arm through a private deal or public stock listing, Bloomberg said. Other potential bidders could also emerge.

Nvidia’s interest may not lead to a deal, and SoftBank may still opt to pursue a listing, the people said. 

Arm sells semiconductor designs and also licenses the fundamentals of how chips communicate with software, known as instruction sets. Even some companies that design their own chips, such as Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report, do so using Arm’s instruction set.

A deal for Arm could become the biggest-ever acquisition in the chip industry, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 

Arm is owned by SoftBank and its $100 billion Vision Fund. SoftBank bought Arm in 2016 for $32 billion, which at the time was the U.K.’s largest listed technology company.

Nvidia declined to comment. SoftBank did not responded immediately to a request for comment.

SoftBank previously owned a stake in Nvidia, having bought $4 billion of shares in 2017, but the firm said in early 2019 that Vision Fund had sold all its Nvidia holdings.

Earlier this month, Nvidia's market cap surpassed that of chip giant Intel  (INTC) - Get Report for the first time, amid positive sentiment about the graphics chipmaker. Both chipmakers are based in Santa Clara, Calif.