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SK Hynix-backed consortium mulls Arm acquisition

The company’s CEO doesn’t think the British chipmaker can be bought by one company or organisation

SK Hynix, the world’s second largest memory chip maker based in South Korea, is reportedly reviewing plans to acquire the semiconductor company Arm.

The idea of potentially acquiring Arm is said to be at a very early stage, according to Yonhap News Agency.

Park Jung-ho, vice chairman and CEO of the company, said yesterday that SK Hynix is considering forming a consortium, along with strategic partners, to jointly acquire the British chipmaker. He underlined that he doesn’t think Arm is a company that can be bought by one organisation.

"I want to buy Arm, if not entirely. It doesn't have to be buying a majority of its shares to be able to control the company," he said during SK Square's annual shareholders meeting, a company he is also CEO of and is the investment spin off of SK Telecom, a leading South Korea telecoms company.

This came after SK Hynix’s acquisition of local chipmaker Key Foundry was approved by South Korea’s antitrust regulator. The deal is worth 575.8 billion won ($474.85 million), with SK Hynix hoping to boost its presence in the non-memory sector, according to The Star. The non-memory sector includes communications chipsets, display driver chips, smart card chips, and image sensors.

Park also revealed the company will build an R&D centre in Silicon Valley, to function as a key base to enhance its partnerships with big tech companies and improve competitiveness.

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Nvidia’s deal to acquire the British chipmaker collapsed in February, with the company citing significant regulatory challenges as the reason for the collapse. Instead, SoftBank, Arm’s owner, said it is looking to float the company on the stock market by 2023, although it didn’t clarify which stock market.

The collapse of the deal saw CEO Simaon Segars step down and replaced by industry veteran Rene Haas, who will now lead the company through its IPO. Arm has previously gone to market, making its initial debut in 1998, but was purchased by SoftBank in 2016.

It is thought the investment group sold Arm so that it could shore up its finances after spending money on other investments, like WeWork and Uber.

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