Apple Reportedly Held Preliminary Talks With SoftBank Over Arm Acquisition

Apple reportedly held preliminary talks with SoftBank over the prospect of bidding for its chip design branch Arm.

A new report from Bloomberg explains that the two firms have had preliminary discussions, but Apple is not planning to pursue a bid in SoftBank’s chip design firm Arm.

According to Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman:

SoftBank Group Corp. approached Apple Inc. recently to gauge the iPhone maker’s interest in bidding for chip design firm Arm Ltd., according to people familiar with the discussions.

Arm’s licensing operation would not fit well with Apple’s business model, notes the report. Additionally, with Apple moving to its custom Apple Silicon for its Macs – which is built by licensing Arm’s instruction set and other intellectual property, an acquisition would largely be faced with anti-competitive regulations:

The two firms had preliminary discussions, but Apple isn’t planning to pursue a bid. Arm’s licensing operation would fit poorly with Apple’s hardware focused business model. There may also be regulatory concerns about Apple owning a key licensee that supplies so many rivals. Representatives from SoftBank and Apple declined to comment.

As the report notes, this would have been a mammoth acquisition in Apple terms. SoftBank paid $32 billion for Arm in 2016, dwarfing Apple’s biggest-ever acquisition, its purchase of Beats several years ago for $3 billion USD.

In the meantime, it was also recently reported that NVIDIA could be considering placing a bid for Arm Holdings. While the company does make their own chipsets, they aren’t particularly active on that front and the acquisition could help them kick things off again.