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UK has Nvidia in armbar, pauses ARM acquisition

UK has Nvidia in armbar, pauses ARM acquisition

Nvidia’s plans to buy UK chip-designer ARM have run into trouble after the UK government has asked the Competition and Markets Authority to take an in-depth look at the deal. The deal is controversial because the chip designer has taken a neutral position in the industry historically, offering ‘any core for any buyer’ while the proposed deal would mean ARM would end up in the hands of one of its customers.

ARM, a key player at the edge where its chips dominate, has promised to preserve ARM’s customer neutrality. However, many remain unconvinced, arguing the IoT, automotive and data center sectors would be inevitably affected by the restriction of competition.

London’s unease about the takeover has been known for some time. and it is not surprising that it has ordered a Phase Two investigation. Along with the announcement of the fresh probe, it added that national security will be considered as a factor in the determination.

The UK government has to walk a difficult path between convincing overseas investors that post-Brexit Britain remains an attractive destination and satisfying the more nationalistic wishes of its electoral coalition, unhappy at seeing the UK’s best-known technology company swallowed up by an overseas company. In the past, the desire for investment has led the UK to adopt a relatively relaxed approach, but its behavior over ARM shows that may be changing.

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