Tan is undoubtedly one of the shakers and movers of the semiconductor industry. He held down the top job at Cadence while also being one of the venture capital leaders that has overseen the return of equity investment to semiconductor companies. As a result he has been on the boards of directors of multiple companies.
The EDA software industry sector has been moving into IP supply for many years and that business now makes up a significant part of the revenues of leading EDA firms. Licensing EDA software is a very similar business model to licensing IP cores and the two are closely related. It makes for a good fit and Synopsys or Cadence would make a good home for ARM.
One question would be whether Cadence can afford the $40 billion or so that might be the price tag, although with a stock-based merger and calling on multiple entities to take a piece of the action it could be a tractable problem. Tan's connections mean he might be the right person to put a deal together.
The question then becomes whether any major deal can pass all the necessary regulatory scrutiny in multiple geographies and get done while relations between the United States and China continue to deteriorate.
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