Nvidia is in advanced talks to acquire ARM, the chip designer owned by SoftBank Group, according to people familiar with the matter.
The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the only suitor in concrete discussions with SoftBank, according to the people.
A deal for ARM could be the largest ever in the semiconductor industry, which has been consolidating in recent years as companies seek to diversify and add scale. Cambridge, England-based ARM’s technology underpins chips in products including Apple devices and connected appliances. SoftBank acquired the business for US$32-billion in 2016.
No final decisions have been made, and the negotiations could drag on longer or fall apart, the people said. SoftBank may gauge interest from other suitors if it can’t reach an agreement with Nvidia, the people said. Representatives for Nvidia, SoftBank and ARM declined to comment.
Any deal with Nvidia, which is a customer of ARM’s, would likely trigger regulatory scrutiny as well as a wave of opposition from other users of the company’s technology. Other ARM clients could demand assurances that a new owner would continue providing equal access to ARM’s instruction set. Such concerns resulted in SoftBank, a neutral company, buying ARM the last time it was for sale.
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