In a sign that ARM Holdings shareholders might be bracing for an acquisition in the near future by Oracle, shares of ARM bounced higher today after Oracle CEO Larry Ellison said his company would be on the hunt to pick up new chip companies to add to its computer hardware portfolio. Ellison made the comment to attendees of the Oracle OpenWorld 2010 conference in San Francisco yesterday.

U.S.-traded shares of ARM Holdings jumped 8.1 percent to $19.89 as of 9:33 a.m. PST, leading the way for the rest of the semiconductor stocks on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange semiconductor index — including Nvidia, up 4.4 percent, and Advanced Micro Devices, up 5.2 percent. The PHLX semiconductor index was up 3.6 percent.

Earlier this year, Oracle finalized its acquisition of server manufacturer and Java developer Sun Microsystems in a deal worth $7.4 billion, though the official announcement came in April last year. The European Commission had investigated the deal later that year over concerns that Oracle, a maker of commercial database management software, would stifle the MySQL open source database management software business within Sun.

Cambridge, England-based ARM has frequently been the subject of takeover speculation due to its close ties with Apple — it’s a partial developer of the Apple A4 processor found in the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices. The company said that takeover candidates could easily access the technology by buying the chips rather than attempting to acquire the company, according to Bloomberg News.

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