When NVIDIA announced its plan to buy chip designer Arm in 2020, regulators and tech companies immediately voiced concern that the deal would limit access to ARM licenses. It seems that these concerns, along with a sudden increase in the Arm company’s market value, have finally killed NVIDIA’s acquisition deal.
Both companies maintain their stance that “this transaction provides an opportunity to accelerate Arm and boost competition and innovation,” according to NVIDIA spokesman Bob Sherbin. But as Bloomberg reports, NVIDIA is warning partners that it doesn’t expect the Arm deal to go through.
Additionally, it seems that Arm’s parent company SoftBank wants to take Arm public. The maneuver makes a lot of sense—ARM chips have become incredibly popular throughout the pandemic, and with the release of Apple Silicon M1 chips, it’s now clear that ARM could replace desktop-class processors from Intel. (For reference, the NVIDIA and Arm deal’s value has increased from $40 billion to $75 billion since 2020.)
We may never know what a combined NVIDIA and Arm could accomplish, which is a shame. But criticisms of this deal were totally valid from the start. Low-power ARM chips are incredibly flexible and appear in a ton of products, including smartphones, laptops, cars, drones, and appliances. If NVIDIA limited ARM license distribution (it promised the opposite), it could damage the electronics market and exacerbate the global semiconductor shortage.
Bear in mind that NVIDIA is already a titan of the semiconductor world. This deal would be comparable to Intel or AMD purchasing Arm, so it’s no surprise that the British government, the FTC, the Chinese Communist Party, and several tech companies were skeptical from the start.