Today, Bloomberg reported that NVIDIA has negotiated with SoftBank to acquire ARM Holdings, a transaction that may bring huge changes to the computing field.
In 2016, SoftBank acquired ARM for $32 billion. However, according to reports, in the past two years, as several companies invested heavily by SoftBank have not performed as expected, SoftBank is undergoing a strategic contraction. One of the important measures is to merge ARM's IoT division into SoftBank, and the remaining ARM business will be re-listed or sold to interested buyers.
According to industry insiders, the main variable in the acquisition of ARM lies in the review of governments. As a global leader in the field of mobile IP, merging with other companies in the semiconductor industry will lead to strict antitrust review by governments of various countries.
In fact, there have been reports that Samsung and Apple are interested in acquiring ARM. However, analysts said that it will be difficult for Apple and Samsung to acquire ARM to pass antitrust approvals, because Apple and Samsung are important suppliers of mobile SOCs, which is where their interest in ARM lies. Once Apple or Samsung acquires ARM, it will affect ARM's continued provision of IP to other competing mobile phone SoC manufacturers, which will cause antitrust issues.
Relatively speaking, Nvidia is also a semiconductor company, but it does not have direct competition with ARM’s current customers. Therefore, the chance of passing antitrust review is higher than that of Apple and Samsung. However, because Nvidia and ARM are both in the semiconductor industry, antitrust review will still be very challenging for this merger.
In general, there is great uncertainty about Nvidia's acquisition of ARM. SemiMedia will report in time.