We reported last week that Japanese holding company SoftBank planned to sell off Arm, and that Nvidia had shown interest in acquiring the UK-based chip designer. Now, it seems Nvidia is in advanced talks to do exactly that, according to Bloomberg.
According to Bloomberg, Nvidia and Softbank/Arm look to reach a deal within the next few weeks. Right now, Nvidia is the only suitor in concrete discussions, their sources say, and that no decision has yet been made.
Good for Nvidia, possibly bad for everybody else
This would be an interesting deal. For Nvidia, it would put them on great footing to compete (and possibly dominate) in new markets. The effect on gamers, Nvidia’s best-known market segment, would likely be minimal. But the other segments, which have helped it surpass Intel in value, are another story.
“Marrying [Nvidia’s] own capabilities with central processor units designed by Arm may enable it to take on Intel and AMD in a more comprehensive way,” Rosenblatt Securities analyst Hans Mosesmann told Bloomberg. Nvidia has spent the last few years making headway in data centers and the automobile industry thanks to the AI horsepower in its GPUs. Arm’s expertise with CPUs would give Nvidia a scalable CPU that can be integrated into its GPU roadmap, Mosesmann explained.
If this deal goes off, it could be the biggest deal in the semiconductor industry ever. Nvidia could pay something like $55 billion for the chip designer. It would, however, likely set off a swarm of regulatory concerns. Nvidia is a customer of Arm, and so are its competitors, as well as other companies. Arm sells designs and instruction sets to companies like Intel, AMD, Qualcomm, and most recently Apple.
The latter company recently announced a shift away from Intel toward its own in-house silicon, which will use instruction sets from Arm. Expect the GPU giant’s competitors to protest the purchase, and Nvidia to make concessions toward fair access to Arm‘s licenses.
With the decision close on the horizon, we can expect an update soon. If Nvidia does go through with the purchase, it could be a long road to completion.