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Nvidia-Arm Deal Could Be Reached In ‘Next Few Weeks’: Report

The GPU juggernaut is reportedly the only serious player looking to acquire British chip designer Arm, but such a deal could invite scrutiny from major companies that license Arm’s silicon IP, including Apple and Qualcomm, as well as antitrust regulators.

Nvidia is reportedly the only serious player looking to acquire British chip designer Arm—a deal for which the two parties aim to secure in the ”next few weeks.”

That‘s according to a new report on Friday from Bloomberg, which said Nvidia is in “advanced talks” to buy Arm from its Japanese owner, SoftBank Group, citing sources familiar with the proceedings. The Financial Times also reported that the parties are discussing the deal, which would price Arm at more than $32 billion in cash and stock, higher than what SoftBank paid for the company in 2016.

[Related: AMD CEO Lisa Su: Roadmap Execution Is Key To Fighting Intel]

Nvidia and Arm declined to comment. SoftBank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The new reports arrived after Bloomberg reported earlier this month that Nvidia approached SoftBank about a potential acquisition of Arm. Prior to that, reports said SoftBank was looking to either sell Arm or return the chip designer to the public market through an initial public offering.

In the new reports, Bloomberg and the Financial Post offered the caveat that the deal is not a complete certainty, with Bloomberg stating that SoftBank could seek other buyers if the company can‘t agree on terms with Nvidia. The publications also noted that a deal could invite scrutiny from major companies that license Arm’s silicon IP, including Apple and Qualcomm, as well as antitrust regulators.

Eliot Eshelman, vice president of strategic accounts and HPC initiatives at Microway, a Plymouth, Mass.-based Nvidia partner, told CRN last week that while such a deal would allow Nvidia to control the GPU, CPU and network in the data center, it could also make the compute ecosystem more messy since Arm has a different business model and licenses its silicon IP to many companies.

“That is a huge wrinkle,” he said.

Nvidia itself is an Arm licensee, using the company‘s CPU architecture for embedded system-on-chips like the Xavier products. But the two companies have recently expanded their work together, with Nvidia last year unveiling a major move to support a new reference architecture and ecosystem support for GPU-accelerated Arm-based servers.

The three reasons Nvidia said it was making a big investment in Arm for high-performance computing: more choice, an open platform and improved energy efficiency for customers.

“They offer a choice to the customers, and we are seeing customers throughout the world asking and are interested in Arm,” Paresh Kharya, senior director of product management for accelerated computing at Nvidia, told CRN last fall.

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