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Arm Holdings, a tech firm headquartered in Cambridge, is to be acquired by Japan’s SoftBank for an expected £24bn ($32bn).

Although the sale is still pending regulatory approval, Arm Holdings, which designs microchips used in most smartphones, is heading for one of the UK’s biggest tech exits to date.

Once the sale goes ahead, Arm Holdings is expected to remain an independent business and will keep its headquarters in Cambridge.

Additionally, SoftBank said in a statement that it would “at least double the employee headcount in the UK over the next five years” and “increase the headcount of ARM outside the UK over the next five years”.

Speaking about the announcement, Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank, said:

“We have long admired ARM as a world renowned and highly respected technology company that is by some distance the market-leader in its field.  ARM will be an excellent strategic fit within the SoftBank group as we invest to capture the very significant opportunities provided by the “Internet of Things”.

“This investment also marks our strong commitment to the UK and the competitive advantage provided by the deep pool of science and technology talent in Cambridge. As an integral part of the transaction, we intend to at least double the number of employees employed by ARM in the UK over the next five years.

“SoftBank intends to invest in ARM, support its management team, accelerate its strategy and allow it to fully realise its potential beyond what is possible as a publicly listed company.  It is also intended that ARM will remain an independent business within SoftBank, and continue to be headquartered in Cambridge, UK.

“This is one of the most important acquisitions we have ever made, and I expect ARM to be a key pillar of SoftBank’s growth strategy going forward,” he added.

Stuart Chambers, the chairman of ARM Holdings, commented: “It is the view of the Board that this is a compelling offer for ARM Shareholders, which secures the delivery of future value today and in cash. The Board of ARM is reassured that ARM will remain a very significant UK business and will continue to play a key role in the development of new technology.

“SoftBank has given assurances that it will invest considerably in the business, including doubling the UK headcount over the next five years and maintaining ARM’s unique culture and business model. ARM is an outstanding company with an exceptional track record of growth. The Board believes that by accessing all the resources that SoftBank has to offer, ARM will be able to further accelerate the use of ARM-based technology wherever computing happens,” he concluded.

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