The British competition authority intervenes

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will launch an investigation into Nvidia’s acquisition of Arm. “The microprocessor industry runs in the billions and is essential to many products that we use very often in our daily lives,” said CMA general manager Andrea Coscelli in a statement. With good reason, the arm chips provide a large part of the smartphones in circulation around the world today. Before the investigation is reopened, “the CMA asks interested third parties to give their opinion on the future takeover of Arm by Nvidia”.

In September 2020, Nvidia announced it would buy Arm for $ 40 billion. In collaboration with many of Nvidia’s competitors, the announcement gave cause for concern, particularly with regard to the neutrality of the licensing model. Arm’s co-founder, Hermann Hauser, was therefore concerned about the potential impact on the company’s economic model, as well as on employment and the country’s economic sovereignty. He also created the website savearm – save arm – which collects signatures to prevent the takeover. According to the website, 2,000 signatures had been received as of October 12, 2020.

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Arm is considered one of the flagships of the UK economy. Of the 6,500 employees, 3,000 are in the UK. In the previous takeover of Arm by the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, the UK ensured that jobs in its country were secured. However, this problem does not fall within the remit of the CMA. On this point, while Nvidia has promised to increase its workforce in the UK, it has agreed to keep Arm’s headquarters in Cambridge.

Arm’s executive director Simon Segars told CNBC in December that authorities should “carefully review” the deal. Because of this, the two companies have announced that they hope to finalize the deal in early 2022 in order to meet regulatory controls by the US, European Union and China. “We will work closely with other competition authorities around the world to carefully examine the impact of the deal and ensure that it does not ultimately lead to consumers being confronted with more expensive or inferior products,” explains Andrea Coscelli.

“It’s a long process. There is a lot of discussion with regulators to get the information we want, ”says Simon Segars. Since Nvidia’s announcement on the Par Arm, this is not the first obstacle that has crept into the acquisition. In November, Arm’s acquisition of Nvidia blocked ARM’s Chinese joint venture because of a conflict of interest related to the firing of its CEO, Allen Wu.

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