In a landscape dominated by innovative technology, semiconductor design holds the key to the future. SoftBank Group’s British chip design unit, Arm, has become a center of attention as it plans to float its shares in an IPO on the Nasdaq in September 2023. What makes this event even more significant is the involvement of two giants of the tech world: Apple and Samsung. Both companies will invest in Arm as soon as the company is listed on the market.
ARM: A Crown Jewel of the Semiconductor Industry
Arm, headquartered in Cambridge, southeastern Britain, was created through a collaboration between British industry and academia. It has developed integrated circuit design data, the “blueprints” for semiconductors, on which chipmakers base their products. With its energy-efficient designs, Arm holds a global market share of more than 90% for chips used in smartphones.
The company’s valuation has doubled since SoftBank Group bought it for $31 billion in 2016. Its sales have soared, reaching $2.8 billion in fiscal 2022, and more than 250 billion chips using its designs have been shipped globally.
Apple and Samsung: Pioneers in Processor Development
Both Apple and Samsung are titans in the smartphone industry, and their investment in Arm signifies a strategic move towards the future of semiconductors.
Apple’s A-series processors are renowned for their power efficiency and performance. The company’s recent M-series processors, designed for laptops, are also based on the ARM architecture. The development of the latest A16 Bionic chip, launched in 2023, emphasizes new CPU and GPU cores and an improved Neural Engine.
Apple’s investment in Arm aligns with its commitment to enhancing its processors, furthering technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Like Apple, Samsung has been developing its processors based on the ARM architecture. The Exynos processors, used in Samsung’s high-end phones and other devices, reflect the company’s dedication to innovation. The Exynos 2300, released in 2023, features new CPU and GPU cores, along with an improved modem.
Samsung’s investment in Arm complements its efforts to make processors more powerful and efficient, particularly for AI and machine learning tasks.
The Significance of the Investment
The investment by Apple and Samsung in Arm comes at a time when the IPO market has seen a resurgence. Central banks’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent slackening of interest rate hikes have whetted investor appetite for growing companies.
The listing of Arm symbolizes this resurgence, and the involvement of Apple and Samsung adds gravitas to the event. By holding Arm’s shares, these companies hope to influence Arm’s management, aligning it with their visions and technological advancements.
Arm’s planned IPO on the Nasdaq is not just a significant financial event; it’s a statement about the future direction of the semiconductor industry. With Apple and Samsung at the forefront, investing in Arm reflects a strategic move to influence and shape the future of chip design for years to come.