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Nvidia's Arm takeover lands on CMA's desk

Competition and Markets Authority  UK.jpg

The UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is to investigate Nvidia Corp’s US$40 billion deal to buy UK-based chip designer Arm Holdings.

Reuters reported yesterday that CMA is giving interested third parties an "early opportunity" to comment on the potential impact of the takeover on competition in the UK, but not employment or industrial strategy.

The authority said it is "likely to consider whether, following the takeover, Arm has an incentive to withdraw, raise prices or reduce the quality of its IP licensing services to NVIDIA’s rivals".

CMA said that although it isn't looking at national security concerns, the UK Government could, and "can issue a public interest intervention notice, if appropriate".

Further opportunities to submit views will be provided "in due course" – that is once the CMA begins its formal phase one investigation, itself due to last around 40 days. A more in-depth review could commence after this exercise.

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said in a statement: “The chip technology industry is worth billions and critical to many of the products that we use most in our everyday lives. We will work closely with other competition authorities around the world to carefully consider the impact of the deal and ensure that it doesn’t ultimately result in consumers facing more expensive or lower quality products.”

Reuters continued to report that "top executives" at Nvidia have said firewalls will be used to ensure Nvidia does not access confidential information from Arm’s customers, some of which would be its competitors, or get early access to Arm’s products.

Nvidia and Arm's previous owner Softbank, struck their multi-billion dollar deal in September. Approval was originally expected within 18 months.

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