NVIDIA and Arm, sitting in a tree? Bloomberg is reporting that green team is mulling a potential acquisition of the world-renowned, UK-based semiconductor and software design company, whose owner, SoftBank Group Corp., had recently considered selling as part of a private deal or public stock listing.
“NVIDIA made an approach in recent weeks about a potential deal for Cambridge, England-based Arm, according to the people,” wrote Bloomberg. “Other potential bidders could also emerge, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.”
Wait, could this actually happen? Who knows – NVIDIA had merely “expressed interest,” which means that this could just be wishful thinking from some guy in the break room, but the purchase would make a lot of sense for the graphics chipmaker based on its investment in businesses such as automotive (e.g., self driving) and data center AI processing. These areas would certainly benefit from Arm’s extensive technologies and IPs.
“A deal for Arm could become the biggest-ever acquisition in the chip industry,” Bloomberg added. “Arm is owned by SoftBank and its $100 billion Vision Fund. The Japanese group bought Arm, which at the time was the U.K.’s largest listed technology company, for about $32 billion in 2016.”
What we do know for sure is that Apple, which SoftBank had approached for a potential deal, is out of the equation. “The two firms had preliminary discussions, but Apple isn’t planning to pursue a bid,” noted Bloomberg. “That’s because Arm’s licensing operation would fit poorly with Apple’s hardware and software business model. There may also be regulatory concerns about Apple owning a key licensee that supplies so many rivals. An Apple spokesman declined to comment.”