Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Opinion
Alex Webb and Tim Culpan

A $44 Billion IPO Isn’t the Win SoftBank Needs

The Japanese tech investor's chip designer Arm could fetch more than its punchy purchase price – but maybe not enough for real bragging rights.

SoftBank Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son would need a listing of Arm to generate a big number.

SoftBank Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son would need a listing of Arm to generate a big number.

Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

For SoftBank Group Corp. Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son, selling a stake in Arm, the British semiconductor firm that kicked off his tech spending splurge, cannot have been part of the plan. At least, not yet.

When SoftBank agreed to buy the Cambridge, England-based firm for 24 billion pounds ($32 billion) four years ago, the expectation was that it wouldn’t return to the markets in the foreseeable future. Son’s vision was framed in decades, not years. A sustained period nestled within SoftBank would allow the chip designer to invest for the long-term, substantially improving its value.