Softback (SFTBY) surprised the market when it announced the purchase of chip design specialist ARM Holdings (ARMH) for $32 billion this summer. That's just the opening gambit in a long game for the Japanese telecom investor, said Benjamin Beneche, portfolio manager for the ASTON/Pictet International Fund. "It's a really meaningful long-term acquisition because it opens Softbank up to the 'internet of things'," said Beneche. "It's a brilliant business." The takeover of ARM gives Softbank a company whose semiconductor know-how is used in 95% of feature and smartphones globally and increased clout to compete in the growing market for connected devices. The purchase marked a dramatic departure from SoftBank's recent asset-sale drive, which has included a June deal worth $7.3 billion to sell its majority stake in Finnish games maker Supercell to Tencent and co-investors and the sale of $8.9 billion worth of Alibaba BABA securities, bringing down its holding to about 28%.
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