NVIDIA is already making big plans on its investments in the Arm ecosystem, most of which hinges on its acquisition of the UK-based company currently owned by Japan’s SoftBank. We haven’t heard much about the status of that process recently, but the latest news that has just surfaced isn’t that encouraging, at least for NVIDIA. The acquisition has already been uncertain as far as the UK is concerned, and insiders are now saying that the country is inclined to reject the bid over national security concerns.
It has been a year since NVIDIA and SoftBank revealed the graphics tech giant’s intentions to takeover Arm, formerly Arm Holdings. The semiconductor and software design company is best known for creating the design and technologies used for CPUs and GPUs that are then licensed by the likes of Qualcomm, MediaTek, Samsung, Rockchip, and a whole host of other chipmakers. As such, Arm is at the center of most mobile and embedded technologies.
As a company, however, its history may suggest a bit of instability. After being acquired in 2016, the SoftBank Group started looking for buyers to fuel its buybacks and newer investments. There have been several interested parties, but NVIDIA rose to be the most prominent and, unfortunately, the most controversial.
The UK naturally has vested interests in who becomes Arm’s new owner, especially as the government tries to consolidate and protect its technological “treasures” like Arm. Bloomberg now reports that there is a growing concern over the national security implications of Arm’s acquisition by US-based NVIDIA, but it is still unclear why that would be so. Questions of neutrality and anti-competitiveness might actually be more relevant, considering NVIDIA is a direct competitor to some of Arm’s licensees.
Things could still go in NVIDIA’s favor, though, but other stakeholders in the Arm ecosystem are also willing to pitch in if the deal goes south. SoftBank’s last resort would be to file for an IPO of Arm, though that is deemed to be less profitable than an outright sale.