Softbank has agreed to sell Arm to Nvidia for 40 billion dollars in cash and stock. Although the GPU giant promises to continue the UK-based chip designer’s open-licensing model, to maintain customer neutrality and even expand the licensing portfolio with Nvidia technology, the deal is likely to meet strong opposition from Nvidia’s competitors. Getting regulatory approval from governments around the world – particularly from China – will be a major hurdle as well.
Nvidia is framing the deal as bringing “together Nvidia’s leading AI computing platform with Arm’s vast ecosystem to create the premier computing company for the age of artificial intelligence.” Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang elaborated: “Uniting Nvidia’s AI computing capabilities with the vast ecosystem of Arm’s CPU, we can advance computing from the cloud, smartphones, PCs, self-driving cars and robotics, to edge IoT, and expand AI computing to every corner of the globe.”
As part of Nvidia, Arm will retain its company name and remain British. This is an important detail, because as an American company, it would become subject to trade restrictions imposed by the US government.