Arm chief exec scored $70M in New York IPO bonanza

Brit chip design outfit sets sights on dominating AI market

Arm chief exec Rene Haas netted himself a cool $70.1 million last year, becoming a major beneficiary of the CPU designer's IPO in New York.

According to The Sunday Times, remuneration for Haas included a salary of $1.35 million, and was supplemented by a whopping $69 million of bonuses and one-off amounts relating to Arm going public on the Nasdaq stock exchange.

The chip design outfit sold off about 10 percent of its shares (95.5 million) in the IPO in September, and has since seen the share price rise as Arm, and Haas in particular, talked up the potential profits that could be made from the burgeoning AI market.

Around the time of the flotation, it was reported that Haas was likely to receive cash and shares worth $40 million as a result of a successful IPO, while a further $35 million had been granted to two other unnamed Arm executives.

For its fourth quarter of the fiscal year ended March 31, 2024, Arm reported revenue up 47 percent year-on-year to $928 million, beating internal estimates. This was thanks to the growth of chip designs based on the ARMv9 architecture, Arm said, while license revenue was up an impressive 60 percent year-on-year.

Yet while Arm is not directly involved in AI in the way Nvidia is with its high-powered GPU accelerators and associated software stack, Haas has regularly talked up his corporation's importance to the AI industry.

At the Computex show in Taipei today, Haas told the audience that there would be 100 billion Arm devices ready for AI by the end of next year. He also said the chip designer aims to account for more than 50 percent of the Windows PC market in five years.

However, investors were not convinced that Arm will be able to keep up the recent growth rate, and were unimpressed by the forecasts given as part of its Q4 earnings for the coming year.

In a recent filing [PDF] with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arm also admitted that more than half of its revenue (54 percent) comes from just a handful of key licensees, including Arm China, which is the largest contributor and accounted for 21 percent of revenue during the last fiscal year.

"We depend on our commercial relationship with Arm Technology (China) Co. Limited ('Arm China') to access the PRC [Chinese] market. If that commercial relationship no longer existed or deteriorates, our ability to compete in the PRC market could be materially and adversely affected," the filing states.

And while Arm publicly talks up its own architecture, it concedes in the SEC filing that the company faces competition from rival architectures such as RISC-V.

"Many of our customers are also major supporters of the RISC-V architecture and related technologies. If RISC-V-related technology continues to be developed and market support for RISC-V increases, our customers may choose to utilize this free, open source architecture instead of our products," the company says. ®

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