We first heard that Nvidia was seriously interested in purchasing Arm from SoftBank in July last year. The $40bn deal went official and hit our headlines in September, and there was some considerable negative reaction about conflicts of interest and so on in the wake of this announcement. Nvidia must have been very aware of this interest by rival tech firms, as well as government regulators, and CEO Jensen Huang was quick with coming out with reassurances. Most importantly on this side of the pond were reassurances that Arm UK HQ would not be diminished and any such promises would be legally binding.
At the end of GTC21, business tech site VentureBeat conducted a lengthy interview with the Nvidia CEO. It touched on lots of topics like the Grace CPU, Omniverse, as well as a chat about the hoped-for Arm acquisition. VB asked about Huang's confidence that the deal with Arm can be wrapped up, and how important the deal is to Nvidia – or in other words what are the $40 billion benefits of ownership, compared to being a licensee.
Regarding ownership, or the deal being approved, Huang said "I'm very confident that the regulators will see the wisdom of the transaction." He provided some sound bite style reasons for deal approval "It will provide a surge of innovation. It will create new options for the marketplace. It will allow ARM to be expanded into markets that otherwise are difficult for them to reach themselves." On the mechanics of the deal the Nvidia CEO summed up "I'm confident that we’ll still get the deal done in 2022, which is when we expected it in the first place, about 18 months."
Yesterday the UK government published a public interest intervention notice (PIIN). What will happen now is that the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will prepare a report on the competition and national security aspects of the proposed transaction. This report will be given to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (Oliver Dowden), who will consider its findings before deciding whether it is approved to go ahead or not.
Nvidia's previous largest deal was the US$6.9 billion Mellanox buyout.