It's official! Arm files for IPO on Nasdaq

Paperwork confirms parent paid $16B for 25% stake held by Vision Fund

Arm on Monday publicly filed for an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq stock market, under the ticker ARM.

While the British chip designer has has filed to become a public traded company once again, it will likely remain under majority control of Japanese parent SoftBank.

In a statement today, Arm did not reveal the number of shares it will list nor the price it expects them to go on sale at. References to these figures were left blank in the official filing.

Another detail raised in the filing is Arm's financial standing. Despite the global chip slump, which has battered many of Arm's largest customers - including Samsung and Qualcomm in recent quarters - the biz's revenues and profits only dipped slightly during the 2023 fiscal year.

According to the filing, after seeing global revenues surge 33 percent to $2.703 billion in its fiscal 2022, Arm's sales wobbled slightly downward in FY 2023 to $2.679 billion. Over the same period net income fell a little from $549 million to $524 million, which is a lot better than some other chip designers have fared.

SoftBank took Arm private in 2016, in a deal valued at $32 billion, before attempting to sell the Neoverse designer to Nvidia in 2020 for $40 billion. That deal collapsed in early 2022 after Nvidia failed to garner the necessary regulatory approval to move forward — a blunder that ultimately cost the GPU giant $1.25 billion in fees.

Following the failed sale, it was widely expected Arm would pursue an IPO. However, those rumors weren't confirmed until nearly a year later, when Arm confidentially filed for a public listing. The UK government lobbied to have the company, which employs roughly 7,000 employees across North America, Europe, and Asia, list on the London Stock Exchange, perhaps as part of a plan to list on more than one bourse. However, shortly after the IPO was confirmed, Arm CEO Rene Haas revealed the biz would pursue a US-only listing.

Arm's filing with the SEC, America's financial watchdog, confirms earlier reports that SoftBank had reacquired the 25 percent state in Arm held by its investment limb, the Vision Fund. The $16.1 billion transaction, which will be paid over the course of two years, values Arm at $64.4 billion. That's just shy of the $70 billion valuation predicted by some for the company's IPO.

However, it remains to be seen how much control SoftBank plans to relinquish. Previous speculation indicates SoftBank may make as few as 10 percent of Arm's shares available for purchase.

Other whisperings suggest several of the Cortex CPU designer's largest customers – including Apple, Nvidia, Samsung and Amazon – plan to become anchor investors in the company.

Finally, we have to mention the history of Arm. Spun out of Britain's Acorn Computers in 1990 by its parent plus Apple and VLSI, the biz went public in 1998 on the London Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. You can find more on Arm's history right here in the Reg archives. ®

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