Softbank Group-owned chip designer Arm is targeting a $52 billion IPO in September.
The launch is set to draw big investment from tech giants like Apple, Nvidia, Samsung, and Google.
The debut is expected to be the largest of 2023, and it could mark a turning point for the sluggish IPO market.
Arm, the Softbank Group-owned chip designer, could see a valuation as high as $52 billion in its initial public offering on Nasdaq, according to an updated filing Tuesday.
Softbank will offer 95.5 million American depository shares, and will target a sale price of $47-$51 per share for about 10% of the total shares outstanding.
The company is looking to raise up to $4.87 billion, but even on the lower range, it’s set to be the biggest US IPO of the year. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, people close to the deal say they expect strong demand during the run-up to the IPO could push the price higher.
Not since Rivian in late 2021 has another company come close to this size in its public-market debut.
The British company, which designs chips used in most of the world’s smartphones, was previously listed in both London and New York before Softbank’s acquisition in 2016 for $32 billion. The new target valuation is lower than the $64 billion last month at which Softbank took over a 25% stake from its own Vision Fund, the Saudi-backed investment arm it manages.
After going public, Softbank will retain control of about 90% of Arm’s shares, the filing showed.
Final pricing as well as its trading debut on the Nasdaq exchange is set for next week. It will list under the symbol “ARM.”
A-list tech titans want in
Arm’s roster of IPO investors include a handful of the world’s most recognizable names in tech, and they are poised to scoop up a total of $735 million in stock for the IPO. Samsung, Google, Apple, Nvidia, and Intel are among those that could participate as “cornerstone investors,” the Tuesday filing said.
Other top investors include TSMC and Advanced Micro Devices, as well as other chip names MediaTek, Cadence, and Synopsys.
The wave of big-name interest suggests Wall Street and industry leaders have high hopes for Arm in the fast-budding artificial intelligence market that this year helped propel chip giant Nvidia to a trillion-dollar market cap and sent tech shares soaring on a wave of enthusiasm around the budding technology.
Lead underwriters for Arm’s IPO include Goldman Sachs, Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, and Mizuho Financial Group.
A revival of IPOs
It’s possible that the blockbuster stock launch marks a turning point for what’s been a relatively muted IPO market since 2022. Arm could help pave the way for other tech firms and startups who’s plans for an IPO have stalled through the downturn.
Bloomberg data shows that the US IPO market has been in its deepest trough since 2009, with a historically-low number of companies going public on domestic exchanges since March of last year.
“On the heels of what has arguably been the slowest IPO market in 20 years, investors are hungry for new ideas and VCs are getting impatient,” Rob Wotczak, chief executive of boutique investment bank Freedom Capital Markets, told Insider. “We see evidence of this in the increased number, and nature, of calls we are receiving and the type of due diligence we are currently undertaking.”
As for Softbank, the IPO gives it a chance to gradually sell down its position in Arm, and any early momentum from the stock launch could provide fresh capital for separate investments in up-and-coming AI companies. In a sign of the huge interest in that space, The Information reported that AI startups comprised over 60% of Y Combinator’s latest class of early-stage companies.
Plus, should Arm’s trading debut prove successful, it could furnish Softbank founder Masayoshi Son with profits to cushion last year’s $30 billion in losses in its Vision Fund.
“We are aware that a good number of companies have been waiting on the sidelines and we expect that, all things being equal, Instacart will also test the market later this month,” Wotczak said. “Other high-profile companies, like Stripe and DataBricks, will be watching closely and so we believe that getting Arm successfully out of the IPO gate could proof the market for these players.”
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