Other potential bidders could also emerge, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
Bloomberg do suggest that Apple and SoftBank held discussions with a view to a purchase, but that ARM's licensing model wouldn't fit in with Apple's hardware and software services business that well. Arm designs and licenses the ARM chip architecture that Apple uses in its A-series system-on-chips (SoCs).
Nvidia and SoftBank did not immediately respond to requests for comment, while Arm declined to comment on the report. Do you think Nvidia acquiring ARM would be a good move?
There is bound to be wider interest in the acquisition of ARM, which has grown from tiny roots of the Advanced RISC Machine processor inside 1980s BBC and Acorn machines into one of the biggest technology companies in the world, still based in Cambridge, UK.
The prospect of an Nvidia owned Arm would certainly raise fewer hackles than if Apple went for it, but we don't have much more info about any deal for now, time will tell. The Japanese group bought Arm, which at the time was the U.K.'s largest listed technology company, for about $32 billion in 2016. This comes following a 76% rise in NVIDIA's share values this year. Unfortunately, ARM's financial results have subsequently deteriorated making Softbank look more like a money-recycling conglomerate than a creator of value.
Still, the Cupertino, California-based technology giant has a vested interest in the fate of Arm.
Softbank now needs more cash to support firms in its $100 billion Vision Fund, many of which have been struggling since the start of coronavirus pandemic.
SoftBank has since dialed back some of its ambitions as it seeks to pay down debt and fend off pressure from activist investor Elliott Management Corp. The plan, according to Arm Chief Executive Officer Simon Segars, was to prioritize expansion and investment before eventually reining in costs in preparation for a return to the public markets.
Any deal for Arm is likely to spark antitrust scrutiny, however.
According to Bloomberg, SoftBank has also approached Apple as part of the sale process, but the iPhone maker is not planning to pursue a bid.