SoftBank Is Said to Renew Talks to Go Private After Arm Deal

SoftBank Group Corp. is set to revive talks about taking the group private after reaching a deal to sell chipmaker Arm Ltd., according to people familiar with the matter.

The Japanese conglomerate’s senior executives will be revisiting a management buyout plan, which had earlier met with internal opposition, the people said, asking not to be named as the information isn’t public. SoftBank is set to announce the sale of Arm to Nvidia Corp. soon, one of the people said. The cash-and-stock sale is expected to value Arm at about $40 billion, people familiar with the deal told Bloomberg on Saturday.

Deliberations about taking the company, valued at more than $115 billion, private are at an early stage and may not lead to a transaction. Senior management within SoftBank have various viewpoints on the plan, and many veterans are against the idea, said one of the people.

Those advocating for the plan suggest SoftBank would receive much less public scrutiny as a closely held company. SoftBank declined to comment. The Financial Times earlier reported on the internal discussions.

SoftBank has been criticized recently for a strategy of using derivatives to invest in technology companies and its executives have met with investors in recent days to assure them that the bets are relatively conservative, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg on Friday. Media reports revealing details of SoftBank’s derivatives bets upset investors and sparked about a $9 billion loss in market value for the company the first day of trading after the reports.

The sale of Arm, which SoftBank acquired in 2016, will unwind another strategic investment in favor of boosting liquidity and will let founder Masayoshi Son focus on the more tactical investing he has said he wants to pursue.

Son owned more than 20% of the conglomerate as of a June 25 filing, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

— With assistance by Ian King, Liana Baker, and Giles Turner

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