Back in about:blank, NVIDIA’s ambition to purchase the Cambridge-based chip manufacturer ARM was put on hold by UK’s Secretary of State amid investigations and now, it seems that the UK government is considering blocking the deal altogether, sources familiar with the discussions told Bloomberg. While the halt was in place, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) was tasked to prepare a report on the possible national security risks and anti-competitive behaviour around the deal.
The CMA had already started looking into the deal way back in January and recently delivered its report to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on 20 July. While no final decision has been made, Bloomberg was told that the assessment contains worrying implications for national security and the UK is currently inclined to reject the takeover bid and is likely to conduct a deeper review into the merger.
NVIDIA announced in September that they had reached a USD$40 billion (~RM168.9 billion) deal to acquire ARM from Japan’s SoftBank Group to strengthen its foothold in the semiconductor market amid the global chip shortage. Several big tech players, including Microsoft, Google, and Qualcomm, raised concerns over how NVIDIA would handle ARM’s patents and distribution rights such as its open-licensing model and customer neutrality after the takeover.
As for what NVIDIA has to say about all this, a spokesperson said, “we continue to work through the regulatory process with the U.K. government … we look forward to their questions and expect to resolve any issues they may have.” UK and CMA officials have declined to comment on the matter. Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA’s CEO, has said he remains confident that regulators will approve the company’s acquisition of ARM. Interestingly, chip-maker Qualcomm has said that it would be open to investing in ARM if NVIDIA’s bid fails.