Nvidia Abandoning $40 Billion Purchase Of Arm - Report

The deal, announced in September 2020, has attracted a lot of regulatory interest.

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Nvidia might be relinquishing its efforts to acquire chip maker Arm after facing numerous hurdles presented by regulators, according to a new report.

A Bloomberg report cites sources in Nvidia that are privy to the company's plans to abandon the $40 billion acquisition. Nvidia announced plans to purchase Arm from current owners SoftBank in September 2020, expecting the deal to close within 18 months. As that deadline looms, Nvidia seems no closer to making the deal stick thanks to strong opposition from the FTC. The report states that Nvidia has already begun informing partners that the deal will not close.

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The FTC announced last year that it was suing Nvidia over the acquisition, citing anti-competitive concerns. Arm supplies chip designs to numerous companies, including Nvidia competitors AMD and Intel. Its chip designs are also used in large server installations rolled out by Microsoft and Amazon, each of which could consider Nvidia a competitor as it accelerates efforts into machine-learning for industrial use. This makes the acquisition tricky for Nvidia, who are attempting to make the case that it will not interfere with competition.

Even if Nvidia makes it past the hurdle of the FTC's lawsuit, it still faces scrutiny in both the UK and EU, where anti-trust organizations have already signaled intent to investigate the deal further if it makes it that far. The Chinese government has also noted its opposition to the deal, given that it would make Nvidia a dangerous competitor to its own exported semiconductor business.

Although both Nvidia and SoftBank are publicly still supporting the deal and showing confidence that it will close, SoftBank could be preparing an initial public offering (IPO) for Arm should it fall through. SoftBank will also retain the $2 billion signing bonus and an additional $1.5 billion break-up fee.

Nvidia has yet to confirm or deny the report. Similar claims of anti-trust breaching conduct were levelled at Microsoft last week after it confirmed plans to acquire Activision Blizzard over the next 18 months, but several lawyers have suggested that an investigation won't be necessary.

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