Chairman Son Jeong-eui visits Korea to meet with Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong to discuss ARM cooperation

Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong is expected to meet with SoftBank Chairman Son Jeong-eui, who is visiting Korea, to discuss the sale of semiconductor design company ARM or a strategic alliance.

According to the business community, Chairman Son, who arrived via Gimpo International Airport on the 1st, is expected to stay in Korea for about a week. ARM’s parent company is SoftBank.

Earlier, on the 21st of last month, Vice Chairman Lee met with reporters at Gimpo International Airport on the way back from a business trip to Latin America and the UK and said, “Chairman Son Jeong will -eui is coming to Seoul next month, and will probably make some suggestions.”

Chairman Son has also announced that he will discuss strategic cooperation between ARM and Samsung Electronics. UK-headquartered ARM is an intellectual property (IP) vendor with core technology for designing an AP chip called the brain of a computer’s CPU and smartphone. It is a semiconductor design company that occupies more than 95% of the world’s smartphone chip designs and also has a 90% share of Internet of Things (IoT) AP chips. It has AP design technology for IT devices developed and sold by Samsung Electronics, Apple, and Qualcomm. If Samsung Electronics cooperates with ARM, it is expected to help realize the blueprint of becoming the No. 1 system semiconductor in 2030.

In the industry, the general view is that the possibility of Samsung Electronics taking over ARM alone is small. SoftBank previously tried to sell ARM to US semiconductor company Nvidia in 2020, but failed due to the ‘monopoly’ of regulatory authorities. Given Samsung Electronics’ market position as the No. 1 memory semiconductor and No. 2 foundry, it seems difficult to overcome the monopoly threshold.

Accordingly, it is analyzed that there is a high possibility that Vice Chairman Lee and Chairman Son will meet and negotiate through Samsung’s equity investment in ARM. It is hoped that Samsung Electronics will either strengthen strategic partnerships with other companies by acquiring a stake in ARM or form a consortium with other companies to pursue joint acquisitions.

The possibility of contacting SK was also raised during Chairman Sohn’s visit to Korea. SK also announced the acquisition of ARM in a consortium manner.

Reporter Bongkyun Ham hbkone@etnews.com

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