NVIDIA Corp. is reportedly interested in acquiring a stake in the semiconductor designer company known as ARM Ltd, which is currently owned by Softbank Group Corp. According to people with knowledge of the matter, Softbank Group has been looking into selling their stake in ARM, for which there are a few potential bidders and one among them is NVIDIA, according to Bloomberg report.
ARM is known for their semiconductor design and their instruction set licenses. Their products have been used by many companies, including Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei, etc. ARM’s products have become more important in the recent years with the rise of power-efficient devices like IoT and portables.
Softbank acquired ARM back in 2016, and is now apparently interested in selling their stake in the company. Sources claim that they approached Apple to see if they were interested in buying a stake, however Apple does not plan to pursue a bid. Apple does have an interest in ARM’s licenses itself, after all they do use ARM’s instruction set for their mobile processors. However, if Apple purchases a stake in ARM, it would invite harsh regulatory scrutiny, which is something Apple would like to avoid.
If NVIDIA does manage to acquire a stake in ARM, there could be possible uproar from the companies who already own licenses from ARM. The deal would need approvals from regulatory boards to ensure that companies that own license can continue to expect same prices going forward.