???? Good morning! I think I forgot to write you a little intro yesterday. And I’m out of ideas for today. Um, hope you’re all just having a nice day and beware of Arm puns.

Nvidia loses an Arm?

NVIDIA and Arm company logos

The proposed merger by Nvidia and ARM looks extremely shaky: now The Federal Trade Commission is suing Nvidia to block its purchase of Arm.

  • The FTC voted 4-0 to bring the complaint, and an administrative trial is set to begin Aug. 9, 2022.
  • “The FTC is suing to block the largest semiconductor chip merger in history to prevent a chip conglomerate from stifling the innovation pipeline for next-generation technologies,” the statement says.
  • It feels hard to argue with this from the FTC, which says the Nvidia deal would “give one of the largest chip companies control over the computing technology and designs that rival firms rely on to develop their own competing chips,” and also, “alleges that the combined firm would have the means and incentive to stifle innovative next-generation technologies“.
  • Now of course Nvidia has said that’s not true at all, et cetera. It said to The Verge: “we will continue to work to demonstrate that this transaction will benefit the industry and promote competition,” and reiterated it would be “preserving Arm’s open licensing model and ensuring that its IP is available to all interested licensees, current and future,” arguing that the merger would “boost competition, [and] create more opportunities for all Arm licensees and expand the Arm ecosystem.”
  • So, with three major regulators voicing at least their displeasure, the deal, as is, seems unlikely at best.
  • And for the open sharing of technology, for consumers, that would seem best. Nvidia isn’t exactly thought of as One Of The Evil Companies but Arm’s independence has been key for the likes of Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung (Exynos, etc), MediaTek, Amazon, and more, in building chipsets based on licensing Arm’s IP.

The other wrinkle:

  • SoftBank, the current owner of Arm, agreed to a deal with Nvidia based on a cash and stock deal, which at the time, was worth $40B.
  • Now, more than a year later, with the growth of Nvidia’s stock price, Softbank is in line to receive closer to $75B if the deal is blocked.
  • SoftBank bought Arm five years ago for $32 billion.
  • The other option for SoftBank to get cash out of its equity in Arm would be an IPO, but the general market sense, via Bloomberg, is that it would “likely value it well below Nvidia’s offer.”
  • Still, no tears for SoftBank, apparently it gets a $1.25 billion fee, in cash, if the deal falls through.

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