Last September, Nvidia announced that it had agreed to buy ARM Holdings for $40 billion (about CZK 860 billion). The British government had already declared ARM Holdings to be a significant British company, so the deal that was notified would be subject to a thorough scrutiny. The current owner of ARM Holdings is the Japanese SoftBank Group.
Nvidia is known for producing the chips used in graphics cards. This is a task for video games, for example. Based in Cambridge, a British university, ARM designs chips for most mobile phones and tablet computers. Its technologies are used, for example, by Apple, Samsung or Huawei. SoftBank bought ARM in 2016 for about $32 billion.
The acquisition agreement has raised concerns that ARM Holdings, under its new owner, will maintain an open approach to licensing its technologies. Among other things, ARM co-founder Hermann Hauser criticized the proposed deal, according to which Nvidia would destroy the British company’s business model. This includes licensing chips to hundreds of companies, including some of Nvidia’s direct competitors.
According to a Bloomberg source, the deal report prepared by the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) contains disturbing information about the impact of the acquisition on national security. Another source said Britain was now likely to conduct a more in-depth review of the deal due to national security concerns. Sources say no final decision has yet been taken and it is still possible for Britain to agree to the agreement if certain conditions are met.