Later that day, during a conference call with investors, Son evoked Star Wars to try to persuade them to back his plan and invest in SoftBank. “If you listen to the force, this is the best company to invest in the debt,” he said.
The son owns 19% of SoftBank and has previously faced criticism about his deals before. In October 2012 the company revealed a $22bn plan to take over Sprint the US mobile phone network. Shares fell as heavily as they did on Tuesday, when they closed down 10.3% to ¥5,387 (£34.70), their lowest since March.
Northern Trust Capital Markets Analyst Neil Campling said Intel, Apple, Microsoft, Qualcomm and Google could emerge as rival bidders for ARM. “Softbank themselves did a poor job explaining the rationale on the conference call in our view and it seems to have been an opportunistic strike.”
“ARM is an awesome asset we think and, if they execute and keep the culture as promised then, in 10 years time it may look to be a masterstroke. But short term is a different matter.”
“The other thing is: there is no break-up fee, no lock in. ARM has opened the doors to a counter in our view. And the more we think about it the more likely and sensible it is for others to run the rule over this.”
SoftBank is offering a £17 a share for ARM. This is 43% higher than its last closing share price.
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