EU expected to open investigation into NVIDIA’s acquisition of Arm
In September last year, NVIDIA signed a definitive agreement to acquire Arm, the U.K.-based semiconductor and software design company. Given how important of a role Arm plays in the mobile and tech ecosystem as a whole, many raised concerns that the acquisition would give NVIDIA too much power and control, and they argued that it could hurt competition as a result. Qualcomm, Microsoft, and Google have all voiced concerns about the deal, and now it appears that NVIDIA has hit yet another hurdle. The EU is reportedly looking to open an antitrust investigation into the acquisition.
NVIDIA notified the European Commission that it aimed to take over Arm, which prompted the preliminary review by the European Commission. Reuters now reports that the European Commission is scheduled to end its preliminary review on October 27th of the deal, and a four-month investigation into the deal would follow. A spokesperson for the Commission declined to comment.
“The regulatory process is confidential. The transaction will help to transform Arm and boost competition and innovation, including in the UK,” a spokesperson for NVIDIA told Reuters. NVIDIA said in September last year that the acquisition was scheduled to be completed within 18 months. However, Jensen Huang, NVIDIA CEO, admitted in August that it may take a little bit longer than expected. Arm’s current owner, SoftBank, agreed with NVIDIA that the acquisition should be completed by the end of 2022.
Apparently, NVIDIA offered “behavioral remedies” to the European Commission. Those remedies usually involve pledges aimed at preserving competition, and NVIDIA has previously said that it would maintain Arm as a neutral technology supplier. People familiar with the matter did not provide Reuters with details about the behavioral remedies offered. Reuters also reports that the EU competition enforcer has not reached out to rivals and customers on the concessions, indicating that they were not sufficient.
The U.K. has also expressed concern over the deal. Its competition regulator announced that it had found serious competition issues with the NVIDIA-Arm deal which required an in-depth investigation. The regulator said that if the deal went ahead, the merged entity could reduce competition and stifle innovation across the world in sectors like data centers, gaming, IoT, and self-driving cars.