December 7, 2023

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy is reportedly in talks to invest in chip designer Arm as part of its planned IPO.

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy is reportedly in talks to invest in chip designer Arm ahead of a potential blockbuster tech IPO planned for September. David Paul Morris—Bloomberg via Getty Images Inc. is in talks to join other tech companies as an anchor investor in Arm Ltd.’s initial public offering, according to a person familiar with the situation, part of preparations for a deal that could raise as much as $10 billion.

Amazon is one of several tech companies that have talked to Arm about backing the offering, which is expected next month, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Arm, a chip designer that counts the world’s biggest tech firms as its clients, also has held discussions with Intel Corp. and Nvidia Corp. 

Representatives for Amazon and Arm declined to comment. Reuters previously reported on the talks with Amazon. 

Arm, owned by SoftBank Group Corp., is gearing up for what promises to be the biggest tech IPO of the year. It’s spent months talking to some of its top customers about joining the offering, Bloomberg has reported. Amazon, with its sprawling Web Services operation, is one of Arm’s largest clients, favoring Arm-based chips because of their cost and efficiency. The technology is relied on by 40,000 Amazon customers.

Bloomberg reported last week that Arm is targeting an IPO at a valuation of $60 billion to $70 billion as soon as September, aiming to bank on the popularity of AI chips. The roadshow is scheduled to start the first week of next month, with pricing for the IPO coming the following week, a person familiar with the matter has said. Japan’s SoftBank acquired the chip company in 2016 for $32 billion.

Chip valuations in general have soared this year, especially for companies with a presence in artificial intelligence equipment. Nvidia, which makes so-called AI accelerators, has seen its shares more than triple this year. That company had previously planned to acquire Arm, but had to walk away from the purchase last year after it hit regulatory hurdles. SoftBank, led by billionaire Masayoshi Son, began pursuing the Arm IPO after the acquisition collapsed.

At the top end of estimates, Arm’s IPO would be the largest in the tech industry since Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. in 2014 and Meta Platforms Inc. — then Facebook Inc. — in 2012. It’s slated to arrive during a slow stretch for IPOs, which have been sidelined because of an uncertain economy and the war in Ukraine.

Amazon uses Arm designs in its Graviton server processors, an alternative to traditional data-center chips offered by Intel. Amazon has produced multiple generations of Graviton and other types of chips using Arm’s technology.

A key goal of Arm Chief Executive Officer Rene Haas is to get a bigger piece of that data center market — and it’s part of the appeal for the IPO investors. Arm’s chip designs are already widespread in smartphones and other markets where efficiency and low power consumption are prized.

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