Japanese firm SoftBank is considering the sale, partial sale or public offering of ARM Holdings, the chip manufacturer it bought in 2016 for $32 billion, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Citing “people familiar with the matter”, the report says that SoftBank may have been pressured into exploring a sale by Elliot Investment Corp., “which has been agitating for changes at the company”.

SoftBank reportedly plans to sell over $40 billion in assets to balance its business, which had suffered in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The Financial Times however reports that SoftBank share is now at a twenty-year high following the initial slump.

Goldman Sachs is said to be advising the review, which is “at an early stage”, and the report does admit that SoftBank may “choose to do nothing.”

British microprocessor manufacturer ARM continues to manufacture chips for popular devices such as Apple’s iPhone and iPad, and recently was in the headlines as Apple revealed its Mac computer hardware will switch to Apple-built ARM chips instead of Intel architecture. Industry commentators wondered following the WSJ report if Apple might move to fully purchase ARM.

It is too early to say if the reported sale will occur, but it could potentially have repercussions that affect the computing industry for years. Were ARM to be purchased fully by one company it might create a monopoly on chip manufacturing.

A partial sale where a firm steps in for a stake in ARM would be preferable in order for the company to continue to serve the wider market.