Britain’s Digital Secretary Intervenes During Huge Arm-Nvidia Deal
International Business News Writer
California-based company Nvidia plans to acquire British semiconductor giant Arm Holdings for $40 billion dollars. Forbes reports, “Nvidia announced last September that it reached a deal with Softbank to acquire U.K. based semiconductor and software design company Arm Ltd. for $40 billion, making it one of the biggest acquisitions in tech.” Britain’s Digital Secretary, Oliver Dowden has published a Public Interest Intervention Notice (PIIN) due to his concerns about the transaction.
Dowden’s PIIN outlines the basics of the deal between the two companies and notifies the public that the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (Dowden) will intervene for “national security reasons”. The PIN also states that The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will have until July 30, 2021, to submit its report on the deal. Depending on the results, Dowden will either accept the deal in its entirety, approve it under certain conditions, or ask for a more detailed report. The first phase of the report was announced this past September.
Nvidia has claimed that they do not foresee any potential national security issues and intend to work with British officials throughout the deal. The CEO of Nvidia, Jensen Huang has also promised to keep Arm’s headquarters in its original location. Nvidia’s website claims that they will strengthen Arm’s presence in Cambridge, not weaken it.
While Dowden states that he is open to foreign investments, he also has some concerns. CNBC quoted his recent statement, “We want to support our thriving UK tech industry and welcome foreign investment, but it is appropriate that we properly consider the national security implications of a transaction like this.” Some question if Arm Holdings’ headquarters will be moved to the United States, or that a deal of such magnitude will decrease competition amongst semiconductor companies. Semiconductors are used in smartphones, weapon systems, and cars. Thus, many countries are wary of allowing other nations to produce their semiconductor technology.
A poll by Vox and Data for Progress concluded that most Americans are against large company mergers (such as Amazon and Facebook). American technology corporations, such as Apple, Microsoft, and Google are opposed to the deal. According to Forbes, Apple relies on Arm, which is responsible for ninety percent of IP (Internet Protocol) for smartphones and mobile processors. This deal may make it easier for Nvidia to gain control of the market and infringe on Apple’s access to Arm’s technology. Many companies have benefitted from Arm being “Switzerland” by giving equal access to several companies. Once the report is released, corporations will have a better idea of whether their concerns about access are valid.
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