Bloomberg reported on the 12th that Japan’s Softbank Group plans to sell its British chip design company ARM to the American semiconductor giant NVIDIA. The transaction price may exceed 40 billion U.S. dollars, and the negotiation has entered the “final stage” and may be announced in nearly a week. The industry believes that this record-breaking acquisition may lead to the emergence of new monopoly giants in the semiconductor industry, causing major changes in the industry structure, and thus aggravating the concerns and vigilance of government regulators and other companies.
According to the report, SoftBank and Nvidia are in close contact on the acquisition. It is expected that the agreement will consist of cash and stock acquisition terms, and the total is likely to exceed US$40 billion, which is 43% higher than the company’s stock market value the week before. In 2016, SoftBank spent 32 billion US dollars to acquire ARM, and now the transfer of the company’s equity to Nvidia will bring a lot of cash flow to SoftBank. Some sources said that the acquisition may set a record for the acquisition of the global semiconductor industry. Due to the complexity of the acquisition, the two parties are still determining the details, and there is still the possibility of failure.
Nvidia is currently the world’s largest computer chip manufacturer with a market value of more than US$300 billion. As a top global chip designer, ARM has a processor design with advantages of low power consumption and high performance, and has a significant influence in the current global market. At present, more than 95% of smart phones and tablets in the world use the ARM architecture, and its main technology licensing customers include Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm and Huawei. Based on this, industry insiders believe that if NVIDIA takes ARM under its umbrella, it means that a new leader in the semiconductor industry will appear on an unprecedented scale, and the industry’s pattern will also undergo major changes. Nvidia may further strengthen its advantages against Intel and establish a more stable leading position in the fields of mobile devices, big data centers and electronic consumer products.
The US “Wall Street Journal” stated that this transaction has caused concerns among antitrust regulators and ARM chip design customers in various countries. Apple, Samsung and other manufacturers will publicly oppose the transaction, and even threaten to stop trading with NVIDIA and switch to other chip suppliers. Taking into account the monopolistic results, government regulatory agencies are likely to intervene in this transaction and require Nvidia to make a series of commitments, including maintaining ARM’s independence in industrial design and technology licensing, and not being able to apply it to its own chip production, which will bring “Unfair advantage”.