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NVIDIA Arm Deal In Regulators’ Crosshairs

NVIDIA’s massive acquisition of Arm is under the regulatory microscope around the world, with agencies in the US, UK, Europe, and China all looking into the deal.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the UK, as well as regulators in the EU and China, are investigating the $40 billion USD ($52 billion AUD) takeover, which would see the US chipmaker acquire Arm from SoftBank. The UK-based Arm is responsible for the architecture in most mobile phone chips, including Qualcomm’s.

As reported in The Irish Times, some of NVIDIA’s rivals have come out against the deal on competition grounds, with one concerned about the potential loss of Arm’s neutrality despite promises from NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang to maintain Arm’s open licencing model and not throttle supply to anyone.

“At the moment the company is very neutral in its packages with its customers. But the worry is that in the medium and long term Nvidia will use Arm to disadvantage other companies and pump up its own technology,” the competitor wrote.

The FTC asked NVIDIA for internal documents related to the deal in December, and the CMA last month announced it was taking submissions from interested third parties.

Andrea Coscelli.

Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of the CMA, said it would consider whether Arm had any incentives to withdraw, raise prices, or reduce quality of licencing services to NVIDIA’s competitors following the takeover.

“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,” said Coscelli.

While no paperwork has yet been filed in Brussels, The Irish Times reported the EU is also planning to investigate the deal.

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