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Japanese tech firm to acquire UK chipmaker ARM

Japanese technology firm SoftBank Group is to acquire Cambridge-based ARM Holdings to capitalise on the UK firm's IP in chipsets for smartphones and IoT devices

Japase technology firm SoftBank Group (SBG) is to acquire the UK chipmaker ARM Holdings for £24bn.

The deal is subject to UK court and ARM shareholder approval, but is expected to close in the third quarter of 2016.

The acquisition is the latest in a series by SBG that has included Vodafone’s Japanese business and US telco Sprint, and comes just two months after ARM acquired UK imaging and embedded computer vision technology firm Apical.

SBG said the reasons for acquiring ARM include its strong capabilities in global semiconductor intellectual property and the internet of things (IoT), and ARM’s proven track record of innovation.

Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive of SBG, said ARM will be “an excellent strategic fit” as SBG invests to “capture the very significant opportunities provided by the internet of things”.

ARM chips are extensively used in consumer electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, multimedia players and other mobile devices, such as wearables and other IoT devices.

ARM, which was founded in 1990 and has 3,000 employees, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of SBG, but will keep its headquarters in Cambridge.

SBG also intends to keep ARM’s existing senior management structure and partnership-based business model. It plans to at least double ARM’s number of UK employees and to increase headcount outside the UK over the next five years, according to The Guardian.

The UK’s new chancellor, Philip Hammond, said the deal shows that despite the Brexit vote, Britain has lost none of its allure to international investors.

“SoftBank’s decision confirms that Britain remains one of the most attractive destinations globally for investors to create jobs and wealth,” he told The Guardian.

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