The United Kingdom's decision to leave the European Union, known as Brexit, was an insanely huge piece of news. It affected the worth of the Pound, stock prices worldwide, and a number of other economic factors on the world stage. The UK was left in a somewhat vulnerable state, with many companies watching their worth sink with their national currency. Even chip giant ARM was affected, with the falling Pound barely being leveled out for them by their rising stock prices despite the sweeping economic change. Faith in British businesses seemed to be in short supply, even for the biggest names in the country, but that is exactly what Softbank chairman Masayoshi Son professed by betting big on ARM. If regulators see fit to approve it, Softbank will be handing over £24 Billion (roughly $32 Billion) to ARM in exchange for full ownership of the company.
According to Son, the deal was pretty much on from the day he met ARM chairman Stuart Chambers about two weeks prior. Talking about that fateful day, Son said, quite plainly, "that was the day I said I was interested in acquiring ARM…" This was after many meetings with current and former executives high in the ranks of ARM had failed to spark his interest. Even knowing that ARM was the chip designer that just about everybody outside of the PC space went to for their reference designs and licenses, it was not until Son saw what he saw in Chambers that he began to seriously consider an acquisition.
As for the timing, it did not have much to do with Brexit. Rather, SoftBank's operating capital had been all tied up until recently. They sold off a huge portion of their holdings in Alibaba, got rid of sizeable stake in Supercell, and got themselves a loan to the tune of about $9 Billion for the purpose of capital expenditure. It was only with the convergence of these three factors that Son saw enough cash in SoftBank's pocket to make a move on a company of ARM's size. With the move all set to launch SoftBank headfirst into the Internet of Things revolution, they might just stand to get that investment back in due time, along with a good bit more.