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Think Korean chipmakers will buy Arm? Think again

The UK chip designer is suing another firm that has an interest, so IPO it is?

Remember when Korean chipmakers Samsung and SK hynix were floated as potential buyers of UK chip designer Arm? Well, it seems that we can now count them out, which means Arm's owner, SoftBank Group, will likely have to move forward with its planned initial public offering.

After stating a potential interest in forming a consortium to acquire Arm back in March, SK hynix said it no longer has any intentions of doing so in a recent regulatory filing.  

Last week the South Korean memory maker said it "put various strategic options on the table to strengthen our competitive edge and enhance shareholder value, but we hereby notify that there is no ongoing process for consortium-based acquisition of Arm as of now," according to The Korea Herald.

Samsung is apparently not interested either.

Speculation about the electronics behemoth's interest in Arm was largely based on a planned meeting in early October between Samsung executives and SoftBank mogul Masayoshi Son. The collective was expected to discuss a "strategic alliance." though there was no mention during the meeting of Samsung potentially investing in Arm or acquiring the company, according to South Korea's JoongAng Daily newspaper.

US-based Qualcomm is the other semiconductor company that had previously expressed an interest in buying a stake in Arm, but at this juncture, that seems unlikely given that the two are now embroiled in a bitter legal feud over the terms of Arm's architectural licenses. Like SK hynix, Qualcomm was interested in forming a consortium to own Arm.

Of course, this all comes after Nvidia's estimated $66 billion plan to buy Arm fell through in February due to "significant regulatory challenges" and anticompetition concerns in the tech industry.

SoftBank's failure to see the Nvidia deal through prompted the Japanese investment giant to prepare Arm for an IPO, which would return the chip design giant to the public market after leaving in 2016.

The current Arm IPO plan has gone through its own trouble, which has largely been focused on where SoftBank should list the chip designer. The UK has been strongly pushing for Arm to list on the London Stock Exchange in addition to New York-based NASDAQ after SoftBank reportedly stalled on plans to list the semiconductor company's shares in the UK.  

Most recently, Arm hired former Splunk CFO Jason Child, who has experience with taking companies public. SoftBank hasn't set a date for the IPO yet. ®

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