Arm proposes spinning off IoT businesses into new Softbank-owned entities

Shedding its two IoT Services Group businesses would let Arm focus more on its core semiconductor IP business.

Arm on Tuesday announced plans to shed its two IoT Services Group (ISG) businesses, spinning them off into new entities owned and operated by SoftBank. The move would let Arm focus more on its core semiconductor IP business. 

Specifically, Arm wants to hand over to SoftBank its IoT Platform and Treasure Data businesses. The deal is subject to further review and customary closing conditions and is expected to be finalized by the end of September 2020.  

The chip designer said it expects to continue collaborating with the new businesses. 

"Arm believes there are great opportunities in the symbiotic growth of data and compute," Arm CEO Simon Segars said in a statement. "SoftBank's experience in managing fast-growing, early-stage businesses would enable ISG to maximize its value in capturing the data opportunity. Arm would be in a stronger position to innovate in our core IP roadmap and provide our partners with greater support to capture the expanding opportunities for compute solutions across a range of markets."

SoftBank acquired Arm for around $31 billion in 2016, with an eye on the growth of the IoT market. With SoftBank behind it, Arm in 2018 acquired Treasure Data for its IoT portfolio and launched the Pelion platform for end-to-end IoT connectivity, device, and data management.

While the company now plans to move away from the IoT software space, the spinoff plan doesn't involve Arm's IP for IoT chips. 

Meanwhile, Arm has notched up some significant wins recently in other areas. The company hit a huge milestone in the infrastructure space last month when Japan's Fugaku supercomputer became the first ARM-powered supercomputer to be dubbed the fastest computer in the world. And last year, the company finally gained real traction in the data center market with the debut of Amazon Web Service's Arm-based Graviton2 processor. Additionally, Apple last month announced plans to move the Mac to its own processors based on Arm.