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NVIDIA Buys Arm From SoftBank In $40 Billion Deal

SoftBank is selling Arm Limited to NVIDIA for $40 billion, giving the American chipmaker control of the mobile processor giant.

The deal will see Arm, which is responsible for the architecture used in most mobile phone chips including Qualcomm, maintain its open licencing and customer-neutral business model. According to Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA, the acquisition will bring together NVIDIA’s AI computing platform with Arm’s massive ecosystem to create a company “fabulously positioned for the age of AI”.

“Simon Segars and his team at Arm have built an extraordinary company that is contributing to nearly every technology market in the world. 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.

“This combination has tremendous benefits for both companies, our customers, and the industry. For Arm’s ecosystem, the combination will turbocharge Arm’s R&D capacity and expand its IP portfolio with NVIDIA’s world-leading GPU and AI technology,” said Huang.

Arm will remain headquartered at its Cambridge, UK campus, with Huang saying Arm Cambridge will become a “world-class technology centre”.

“We will expand on this great site and build a world-class AI research facility, supporting developments in healthcare, life sciences, robotics, self-driving cars and other fields.

“And, to attract researchers and scientists from the U.K. and around the world to conduct groundbreaking work, NVIDIA will build a state-of-the-art AI supercomputer, powered by Arm CPUs,” he said.

Simon Segars, CEO of Arm, says the two companies are aligned in a vision for ubiquitous, energy-efficient computing, making the deal a natural fit.

“Delivering on this vision requires new approaches to hardware and software and a long-term commitment to research and development. By bringing together the technical strengths of our two companies we can accelerate our progress and create new solutions that will enable a global ecosystem of innovators.

“My management team and I are excited to be joining NVIDIA so we can write this next chapter together,” he said.

SoftBank will retain a stake in Arm, tipped at this stage to be less than 10 per cent. Though SoftBank purchased Arm in 2016 for a price of $31.4 billion, intending it as an investment in the Internet of Things, the Japanese telecommunications giant has fallen on hard times recently, losing money on investments in companies such as WeWork and Uber.

According to Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank, the deal will create new and exciting opportunities for Arm.

“This is a compelling combination that projects Arm, Cambridge and the U.K. to the forefront of some of the most exciting technological innovations of our time and is why SoftBank is excited to invest in Arm’s long-term success as a major shareholder in NVIDIA. We look forward to supporting the continued success of the combined business,” he said.

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