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Softbank boss Masayoshi Son devotes himself to growing Arm for the next few years

Speech did not mention IPO, did say CEO's close involvement is good for humanity

Japanese tech investment giant Softbank appears to be committed to keeping British-based chip designer Arm under its influence, after the parent company’s CEO and chairman, Masayoshi Son, pledged his life to growing the semiconductor subsidiary in its Q2 2022 earnings report last Friday.

“Since the acquisition of Arm, even before then, I've been in love with Arm,” professed the CEO in a 25-minute flowery speech that opened Southbank’s earnings report opening remarks.

Son next posed the question: “How can we make the best use of Arm?”

“In the coming few years, I only like to focus on this thing. So the next explosive growth of Arm is something that I would like to concentrate on, and I devote myself into that,” said Son. The chairman offered that this was not only the best strategy for Softbank shareholders, but humankind alike.

In addition to pledging his focus to a unspecified outcome for Arm, Son also declared the speech to be his final appearance at financial results despite being “perfectly healthy.”

The Japanese conglomerate has owned Arm since 2016 with a quarter stake going to Softbank Vision Fund, the parent company’s venture capital fund.

Nvidia attempted to purchase Arm in what would have been the biggest ever deal in the semiconductor market, but that plan was terminated when the acquisition encountered regulatory challenges.

For a while, SK Hynix was floated as a potential buyer and Samsung was allegedly interested in a “strategic alliance” with the company, but those fizzled out too. And Qualcomm’s interest ended in a legal feud over the terms of Arm's architectural licenses.

The chip designer was expected to IPO this year, but that has also not materialized.

And now Son appears to want to keep a firm hand on the tiller at Arm, whatever shape it takes.

Softbank’s Vision Fund experienced a heavy $23.5 billion loss in its last quarterly earnings, Q1 2023, leading Softbank to offload parts of Alibaba stake to raise cash. The move brought Softbank back to profitability this quarter after three quarters in the red. The conglomerate reported $21.5 billion net profit.

Arm experienced record revenues for its second quarter, also reported Friday. Royalty revenues jumped from $378 million in the prior year to $463 million. However, total revenues were down 16 percent to $656 million thanks to licensing plummeting by 53 percent. ®

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