SoftBank aims to take Arm Ltd public after Nvidia dropped

SoftBank Group Corp. said it plans an initial public offering for Arm Ltd. after Nvidia Corp. abandoned a proposed acquisition of the chip designer in the face of fierce opposition from regulators and customers.

The Japanese company said it’s aiming for an IPO in the U.S. in the fiscal year ending in March 2023. In addition, Arm President Rene Haas is taking over the chief executive officer role from Simon Segars, who resigned.

The Arm sale’s collapse is the latest challenge for SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son, who has been buffeted by a downturn in the technology market. The Japanese billionaire, after investing aggressively in startups, has seen the value of public holdings such as Didi Global Inc. and DoorDash Inc. tumble. SoftBank’s own shares have dropped 50% from their peak in March of last year.

Most of you will remember SoftBank and Son as the vehicle and leader of the Vision Fund. With over $100 billion in capital, it is the world’s largest technology-focused investment fund. In 2019, SoftBank Vision Fund 2 was founded. The total fair value of both funds as of 31 March 2021 was $154 billion.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund did return to profitability for the quarter ended in December, earning 109 billion yen ($940 million) in the three months ended Dec. 31. That follows a record 825.1 billion yen loss in the fiscal second quarter.

The SoftBank Vision Funds are managed by SoftBank Investment Advisers, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the SoftBank Group founded in 2016. The firm has an investment team that will evaluate and select companies for the funds to invest in. Investments made mostly are either venture capital or private equity-type ones. Most of the investments in Silicon Valley companies have been more than $100 million.

SoftBank Investment Advisers is headquartered in London with additional main offices in Silicon Valley and Tokyo. It also has other offices in Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Riyadh, Shanghai and Singapore. The current CEO is Rajeev Misra, who was previously SoftBank’s head of strategic finance.

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