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SoftBank said to sell 25% stake in ARM to Vision Fund

Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - 17:30

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SoftBank Group Corp. plans to sell a 25 per cent stake in ARM Holdings Plc to a technology fund it is creating with Saudi Arabia after lead investors expressed a desire to include the chipmaker in their portfolio, according to people familiar with the matter.

[LONDON] SoftBank Group Corp. plans to sell a 25 per cent stake in ARM Holdings Plc to a technology fund it is creating with Saudi Arabia after lead investors expressed a desire to include the chipmaker in their portfolio, according to people familiar with the matter.

The Japanese company will receive about US$8 billion for the shares, the people said asking not to be identified because the details are private. The transaction will be separate from the US$25 billion SoftBank plans to contribute to Vision Fund, one of the people said. The deal was previously reported by the Financial Times.

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son is in the process creating the US$100 billion fund with the Saudis, Abu Dhabi investor Mubadala Development Co and other backers that would make the Japanese billionaire one of the world's biggest technology investors.

Mr Son acquired ARM for US$32 billion in September, a bet on the future of connected devices. SoftBank separately led a US$1.2 billion investment in satellite startup OneWeb Ltd, which Mr Son has said will be included in the Vision Fund when it closes.

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Mubadala will invest as much as US$15 billion into the fund and should reach a formal agreement by the end of this month, one of the people familiar with the matter said.

That would make it the second-biggest outside contributor after Saudi Arabia's US$45 billion. Apple Inc, Qualcomm Inc and Oracle Corp.

Chairman Larry Ellison may invest US$1 billion in each, people familiar with the matter have said.

"Our discussions around participation in the fund are productive and ongoing," Brian Lott, Mubadala's head of communications, said in a text message.

"Mubadala has made a number of significant investments in advanced technology, and we see our potential involvement in the Vision Fund complementing those investments."

SoftBank's shares closed little changed on Wednesday in Tokyo, erasing an earlier drop. The company's spokesman Matthew Nicholson declined to comment.

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