SoftBank reportedly considering sale or IPO of chip designer Arm

The Japanese conglomerate purchased the UK-based company four years ago for nearly $32 billion.

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SoftBank is reportedly considering financial options for chip designer Arm Holdings.

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Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is exploring the possibility of a full or partial sale or IPO of chip designer Arm Holdings, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. SoftBank purchased the UK-based Arm four years ago for nearly $32 billion.

ARM isn't as well-known as mega chip companies such as Qualcomm and Intel , but its work lies behind the processors inside many of the world's mobile phones .

Apple announced in June that it would overhaul its Mac computers with Arm chips, close cousins to those it designs for its own iPhones and iPads . With the announcement, Apple moved away from the Intel processors it's used for the past 14 years.

Arm licenses designs to companies like Qualcomm but also licenses its chip instruction set -- the collection of commands software can use to control it -- to companies like Apple that design their own. Arm's designs are also used as the basis for chips made by Samsung and Nvidia.

SoftBank purchased Arm in 2016 with the intent of bolstering its internet of things division.

Goldman Sachs is reportedly advising SoftBank on its review of financial options. It wasn't immediately clear how much financial interest the company is generating, and a source told the Journal SoftBank could decide not to pursue any of those options.

SoftBank didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. Arm declined to comment.

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