US chipmaker Qualcomm has expressed opposition to a possible acquisition of Arm by Nvidia, which said last September that it was willing to pay $ 40 billion in the deal.
Regulators must approve Nvidia’s purchase of Arm around the world to close the deal. Qualcomm has filed protests with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the European Commission (EC), the UK Competition and Markets Authority and the Chinese State Market Regulatory Administration. Sources say the FTC has asked Nvidia, SoftBank and Arm for more information.
Qualcomm believes that if it buys Arm, Nvidia will not allow other chipmakers to use Arm’s intellectual property. This could pose a problem for the 500+ companies that license Arm technology to manufacture their own chips. The ARM architecture is used in 95% of smartphones globally and 95% of chips designed in China. Qualcomm is concerned that Nvidia will be able to cross some boundaries after the acquisition.
Several industry sources and two technology investors have said that there is a high probability that the deal will be blocked by at least one of the regulators. On the other hand, Nvidia said it is confident that regulators will approve the deal.
In addition to Qualcomm, UK-based artificial intelligence chip maker Graphcore has also filed a complaint with the UK Competition and Markets Authority about the upcoming deal. The company’s CEO, Nigel Toon, told CNBC in December that he considered the deal anti-competitive.
Google and Microsoft are also opposed to the acquisition.