Japanese multinational conglomerate SoftBank has announced the sale of 51 per cent of chip designer ARM's Chinese subsidiary to a China-led group of investors in a deal worth $775.2 million.
According to SoftBank, the deal will be done sometime this month and, while it will retain the remainder of ARM and continue to receive licensing and royalty revenues, ARM China will no longer be part of SoftBank nor act as a subsidiary.
However, some analysts have suggested that the value of the deal is somewhat low, especially considering that the acquisition of ARM Holdings itself cost SoftBank Holdings more than $31 billionn (£23 billionn) when it acquired the company back in 2016.
China is a big deal to ARM, according to the firm's financials, the country accounted for around 20 per cent of the firm's revenue in the fiscal year to March 2018.
SoftBank did not disclose the names of the partners in the newly-formed joint deal, but media reports state it will be managed in part by Hopu Investments, a private-equity firm backed by China's sovereign wealth fund - in other words, the Chinese government.
The deal will give China a leg-up in terms of access to advanced semiconductor technology. Access to advanced technology is one of the causes of the current trade tensions between the US and China.
It's such tensions that spurred Beijing to double down on plans to reduce the country's reliance on foreign technology, including chip design and manufacture, with the government seeking to ramp-up its domestic semiconductor industry in response.
In a report by Quartz, Doug Fuller, who researches Asia's semiconductor industry at Zhejiang University, said that unlike other companies in joint ventures, ARM ought to be able to evade concerns that it could reveal too much of its technology to its new Chinese government-backed partners.
"I suspect ARM will arrange to not expose much of its core tech to the joint venture," he said. "They're not turning over the crown jewels to China."
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