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Nvidia's bid for Arm faces further obstacles

Earlier this month the UK’s competition regulator said that Nvidia’s proposed acquisition of Arm could damage competition and weaken rivals and, as a result, required a further lengthy investigation.

That announcement follows on from an on-going US investigation which is due to report next month into the proposed acquisition.

Now it appears that a move by Nvidia to seek European Union antitrust approval for its purchase of Arm could result in another full-scale investigation after a preliminary review, according to those involved.

Nvidia’s bid for Arm has generated a significant backlash in the semiconductor industry due to the fact that Arm has long been a neutral player that has licensed its key intellectual property to a host of customers - such as Qualcomm, Samsung and Apple - all of whom are also major competitors. And it’s that relationship and its loss that is worrying not only the industry but competition authorities around the world.

While Nvidia claims to have got the support of Arm customers including Broadcom, MediaTek and Marvell for the deal, both Amazon and Samsung have lodged their opposition to the deal with the US authorities and now Tesla’s chief executive, Elon Musk, appears to have voiced his concerns about the deal.

Despite that Nvidia continues to argue that the transaction will be beneficial to Arm, its licensees, competition, and the industry.

If the EU competition authorities do decide that a more detailed investigation is required, however, Nvidia may not be able to meet its March 2022 deadline for closing the deal.

Neil Tyler

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