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Musk Signals Concern Over Nvidia Deal for UK Chipmaker – Telegraph

Multinationals that use a large amount of computer chips are reported to have objected to Nvidia’s plan to take over UK chip designer Arm, which is being assessed by regulators at home and abroad

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Nvidia, the most valuable US chipmaker, found itself in the crosshairs of the US-China chip war late last year, when US officials asked the company to stop exporting its two top computing chips for AI work to China. Photo: Reuters.


Tesla chief executive Elon Musk has signaled competition concerns over Nvidia Corp’s planned purchase of British chip designer Arm, the Telegraph reported on Saturday, citing multiple sources.

E-commerce giant Amazon and smartphone maker Samsung Electronics have also lodged opposition to the deal with US authorities, the newspaper reported.

Earlier this year, the US Federal Trade Commission opened an in-depth probe into the takeover. The probe findings are expected in the coming weeks, the newspaper said.

Tesla, Amazon, Samsung and Nvidia did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Nvidia is likely to seek European Union anti-monopoly approval for the $54 billion purchase of Arm early next month, with regulators expected to launch a full-scale investigation after a preliminary review, people familiar with the matter have said.

Arm, which was founded in 1991, is a supplier of chip architecture, and its main business is to develop new technologies, then license these to major chip giants around the world for patent fees.

Most of the world’s mobile phones and tablets are said to use technology developed by Arm and major companies such as Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, and MediaTek have business cooperation with the UK firm.

Arm said last September it had nearly 90% of the mobile processor market, and a healthy share in the field of autonomous vehicles. The company was taken over by SoftBank in 2016 for $32 billion.

Nvidia has offered to pay $21.5 billion worth of its shares and $12 billion in cash for the British company, including $2 billion paid immediately upon signing of the contract.

The two companies said in a joint statement that SoftBank may also receive an additional $5 billion in cash or stock. And if Arm’s future performance reaches a specific target, $1.5 billion worth of Nvidia stock that will be paid to Arm employees.

In an effort to dispel any concern about the deal, Nvidia founder Huang Renxun was quoted as saying: “Arm’s headquarters will continue to be located in Cambridge. We will expand and build world-class AI research facilities in this excellent place to support healthcare, life sciences, robotics, autonomous vehicles and other fields of development. And, in order to attract researchers and scientists from the UK and around the world for groundbreaking work, Nvidia will build the most advanced AI supercomputer powered by Arm CPU.”

China Finance reported at the time of Nvidia’s offer in September 2020 the acquisition may damage Britain’s “technical sovereignty”. It claimed that if Nvidia acquires Arm, it would be equivalent to handing over relevant intellectual property rights to a US company, and this may plunge Arm into the increasingly fierce “technical conflict” between China and the United States.


• Reuters and Jim Pollard



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Jim Pollard

Jim Pollard is an Australian journalist based in Thailand since 1999. He worked for News Ltd papers in Sydney, Perth, London and Melbourne before travelling through SE Asia in the late 90s. He was a senior editor at The Nation for 17+ years.


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