This question was raised in the webinar "Enhance your product with industry-leading processors - for no upfront license fee.”
ARM does partner with fabs, providing physical libraries and PoPs optimised for a particular fab. The cost of chips may not be as expensive as you might think however – many custom SoCs use more mature technology (for example 180nm or 90nm) where the capital costs of the fab have already been recouped. For example, it is possible to get 45 samples of a 25mm2 test chip on a multi-project wafer for as little as $16k.
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