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posted by martyb on Friday December 03, @05:47AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the the-larger-they-are... dept.

FTC Crashes NVIDIA's Party by Suing to Block its $40 Billion Deal To Acquire Arm Holdings

NVIDIA is now facing the most stringent test yet to its planned acquisition of the chip designer Arm Holdings.

To wit, the US FTC is now suing NVIDIA to block the $40 billion deal. FTC Bureau of Competition Director, Holly Vedova, said in a statement:

"The FTC is suing to block the largest semiconductor chip merger in history to prevent a chip conglomerate from stifling the innovation pipeline for next-generation technologies."

Vedova went on to note:

"Tomorrow's technologies depend on preserving today's competitive, cutting-edge chip markets. This proposed deal would distort Arm's incentives in chip markets and allow the combined firm to unfairly undermine Nvidia's rivals."

FTC press release.

Also at NYT, The Verge, and Reuters.

Nvidia's $40 Billion ARM Acquisition: "All but Dead"?
European Commission Extends Probe of Nvidia's Arm Acquisition

Original Submission

Related Stories

Nvidia's $40 Billion ARM Acquisition: "All but Dead"? 18 comments

Nvidia's US$40 billion deal to buy Arm is all but dead – it's a classic example of geopolitics killing innovation

Under normal circumstances, US tech giant Nvidia's takeover of British chip designer Arm for US$40 billion (£29 billion) would have sailed through without registering beyond the computing industry. Instead, it has made international headlines, with UK and EU monopolies regulators launching an in-depth investigation after outcry from competitors.

In effect, the deal is pretty much dead before it starts. At the heart of this lies a row about technological sovereignty. So what is going on?

[...] The biggest pushback, behind the scenes, actually appears to be from China. Ever since the US blacklisted Huawei and other semiconductor manufacturers in China, Beijing has been obsessed with becoming technically "self-sufficient".

While it works towards this goal, Arm has continued to license its chip architectures to Huawei. Arm claims that its chip technology is of British origin and therefore does not breach the US restrictions on exporting tech to a group of blacklisted Chinese companies. Thanks to this ongoing arrangement, Arm is one of the remaining enablers for China's semiconductor sector to keep pace with the outside world.

See also: ANALYSIS-Nvidia acquisition of Arm throws company into tech spat between U.S. and China

Previously: Nvidia Announces $40 Billion Acquisition of Arm Holdings
Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs; UK Trade Union Speaks Out Against Deal

Original Submission

European Commission Extends Probe of Nvidia's Arm Acquisition 19 comments

Nvidia Offers Concessions in EU as Arm Deal Probe Extended

The European Commission (EC) this week extended its probe of Nvidia's proposed acquisition of Arm until at least October 27 and said that Nvidia offered the EU certain concessions to[sic] in a bid to persuade the bloc's antimonopoly regulators to approve the deal. Experts say that the EU regulatory review will take considerably longer.

In a bid to make regulators approve the deal to acquire Arm, Nvidia is eager to offer various incentives to respective countries or blocs. In the U.K., the company proposed to invest 'at least' $100 million in the country's most powerful supercomputer. The EC said that it had received concessions proposal from Nvidia as well, but did not elaborate, reports Bloomberg.

Now that the probe is formally extended to October 27, the EU competition authority will request opinion from competitors and clients before determining whether to accept Nvidia's concessions, demand more or initiate a four-month long investigation, reports Reuters. Bloomberg believes that the probe will be extended further, which will give the EC some additional time to seek feedback from interested parties and figure out what it might get from Nvidia.

Also at Notebookcheck.

Previously: Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs; UK Trade Union Speaks Out Against Deal
Nvidia's $40 Billion ARM Acquisition: "All but Dead"?

Related: Arm Officially Supports Panfrost Open-Source Mali GPU Driver Development

Original Submission

Nvidia Prepares to Abandon Arm Acquisition, Will Pay $1.25 Billion Breakup Fee

NVIDIA to drop its bid for ARM acquisition

NVIDIA faced strong opposition from regulatory bodies in their bid to purchase ARM Holdings, a British company owning the IP of its RISC (reduced instruction set computer) architectures. After numerous attempts to convince the market and governments that could oppose such a transaction, NVIDIA has allegedly given up the plans, which means that it will have to mark a $1.25 billion loss, money that should be considered a breakup fee.

NVIDIA's original plan was to pay 40 billion USD for the company. However, the US chipmaker no longer expects this transaction to close.

Also at Bloomberg and Wccftech.


Nvidia Considering Acquisition of ARM for Over $32 Billion
Nvidia Announces $40 Billion Acquisition of Arm Holdings
Nvidia-Branded ARM CPUs; UK Trade Union Speaks Out Against Deal
Nvidia's $40 Billion ARM Acquisition: "All but Dead"?
European Commission Extends Probe of Nvidia's Arm Acquisition
Nvidia Reveals FTC has Expressed Concerns Over $40 Billion Arm Deal
U.S. Federal Trade Commission Sues to Block Nvidia's Arm Acquisition

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @07:06AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @07:06AM (#1201762)

    ...owning your own supply chain. The problems come when you own your competitors' supply chain.

  • (Score: 2) by Username on Friday December 03, @07:53AM (7 children)

    by Username (4557) on Friday December 03, @07:53AM (#1201775)

    I did some googling and it seems they're based in cambridge, but their income is in japanese yen. So a completely foreign entity. Far as I know all phones have an ARM based something or other. They have no competition to begin with. Much like all computers run intel's x86.

    Now, why would the united states not want the two main monopolies to be american?

    Side Note: I don't know why they're spelling it NVIDIA, in all caps. I know the company styles it nVIDIA. Do they think it's an acronym? They spelled it Arm and not ARM, to differentiate between the instruction set and company, but why nvidia in caps? Nvidia is the official proper noun. Only time I see it all caps is when an entire sentence is all in caps.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @08:22AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @08:22AM (#1201779)

      SoftBank is the Japanese company that acquired Arm but they agreed to keep it in the UK.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @09:05AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @09:05AM (#1201785)

      The Fine Press Release spells it "Nvidia Corp." and "Arm Ltd.", Wccftech not being able to read or write is rather unsurprising.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @10:32AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @10:32AM (#1201789)

      A cold war with President Xi has brought nationalistic self sufficiency to the fore. But maybe it is all about competition.

      Intel, Apple, Qualcomm, plus Apple & Google's chipmaking divisions have nothing to gain from Nvidia becoming vertically integrated.

      The only US tech giant cheering from the sidelines would be, ahem, Microsoft if nvidia ever decided to re-enter the consumer space with an XBox tablet, just in time for their exclusive Windows on ARM deal with Qualcomm expiring.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by TheRaven on Friday December 03, @11:22AM (3 children)

      by TheRaven (270) on Friday December 03, @11:22AM (#1201792) Journal
      Arm Ltd. is the correct spelling of the company that was known as ARM Holdings PLC prior to the SoftBank acquisition. NVIDIA is the correct capitalisation of the company as used on all of their corporate filings, nVidia is used by some NVIDIA marketing and their investor page [], I've not noticed nVIDIA but it's probably used in some places too. Arm Ltd. is a British limited liability company (i.e. privately traded) with a singly shareholder, which is a Japanese company. Arm produces two things (well, more, but the two most important are):
      • A specification of an architecture (ISA and related things like the interrupt controller, system MMU, and so on) along with a conformance test suite and compliance certification.
      • IP cores that third parties can license that implement this specification.

      Quite a few companies build SoCs using Arm's cores. Others use the specifications and certification to build compatible chips. The latter category includes Qualcomm, Apple, NVIDIA, and so on. Arm carefully maintains their neutrality and independence: all of their partners can contribute to the architecture design, Arm builds a consensus, and then provides reference implementations. They do not favour their own cores over third-party ones and they allow other companies to license the cores that they design implementing the specification. That also allow a very mix-and-match approach, you can use Arm's CPU cores with your own GPU, Arm's Mali GPU with your own CPU core, and so on. The concern with the acquisition is that NVIDIA would privilege their own cores and the combination of their GPU and CPU cores, restricting competition.

      sudo mod me up
      • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Friday December 03, @11:45AM (2 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Friday December 03, @11:45AM (#1201795)

        I have lost track, is Softbank still holding Arm?

        Historical note, I bought into Softbank stock shortly after the Arm acquisition. Even with a Trump endorsement following soon after my purchase, it didn't jump high enough to fund an early retirement. It is actually quite amazing how insignificant Arm seems to be to the Softbank bottom line.

        "You're all f-cking peasants as far as I can see."
        John Lennon (also sung by David Bowie) Working Class Hero
        • (Score: 3, Informative) by TheRaven on Friday December 03, @01:52PM

          by TheRaven (270) on Friday December 03, @01:52PM (#1201804) Journal
          Arm is an infrastructure company according to Bill Gates' definition, which means that the overwhelming majority of the money in the ecosystem is made by other companies. Apple alone makes far more money from the Arm ecosystem than Arm does. This is part of their value (to the world, and in particular to their partners, not to their shareholders): they are small and independent. SoftBank, from what I can tell, didn't really understand this and thought that owning Arm would increase the value of the other bits of the Arm ecosystem that they owned. They also thought that Arm should be able to capitalise more on their core position in the ecosystem, not realising that any attempt by Arm to do that would destroy the value of Arm in that ecosystem.
          sudo mod me up
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Friday December 03, @04:54PM

          by takyon (881) <> on Friday December 03, @04:54PM (#1201851) Journal

          Notice that the $40 billion Nvidia offered to buy Arm is not much more than the $31 billion SoftBank paid.

          There is no good reason for Nvidia to buy Arm unless they plan to screw over the other licensees. Theoretically they could get a leg up on custom Arm CPU designs, but they can probably do that without an acquisition, just like Apple has.

          RISC-V is waiting in the wings in case Arm is FUBAR, but it is a short-term hassle to switch to RISC-V. So most of the Arm licensees are bitterly opposed to the acquisition attempt.

          [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @06:09PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 03, @06:09PM (#1201883)

    i wonder how much the arm only "throw-away-buy-new-after-3-years" super-profit philosophy is to blame for our current "chip shortage"?
    with all these 'em future chip fabs, i recon a zero-day every other week and security up-date cycle (forget software enabled function upgrade alltogether) to be reduced to ... 2 years ... no make that 2 months?