After persistent rumours to the fact Bloomberg are now reporting that [url=http:/www.nvidia.com]NVIDIA[/url] are in advanced talks with SoftBank Group to acquire CPU architects Arm Ltd. Citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, Bloomberg state that the acquisition could be concluded in a matter of weeks, giving NVIDIA a massively expanded portfolio dwarfing even their $6bn takeover of networking technology designers Mellanox earlier this year.
UK-based Arm Ltd are the minds behind the enormously successful ARM processor architecture, currently in use by countless devices worldwide from mobile phones to datacentre servers. Their customers include giants such as Apple, Intel, Microsoft and NVIDIA themselves, each of whom license Arm technology for scalable processor design. Any acquisition by a competitor is thus likely to be met with consternation and concern in the boardroom of many a multi-billion dollar company.
Arm was purchased by SoftBank Group following a valuation of £23.4 billion (~$32 billion) in September 2016, and their fortunes have only blossomed in the last four years. They are now an integral part of the roadmap for Tesla and Apple, and figure into the plans for seemingly every smartphone and embedded system manufacturer. Only the workstation ubiquity and brute force of x86-based processors appear to stand in their way in many industries.
With a deepening incursion into High Performance Computing and Automotive markets, particularly through the use of their graphics hardware in deep learning applications, the benefits for NVIDIA are profound. A strong scalable CPU based on the ARM ISA could in theory allow them to freeze out long-term competitor Intel as well as nip AMD's current resurgence in the bud, as well as provide a series of more integrated solutions to eager researchers. It would also offer them leverage over Apple, Samsung and Qualcomm, long-time licensors of Arm processor technology.
Industry analysts speculate that NVIDIA may need to spend as much as $55bn for Arm, near one fifth of their own market capitalisation of $260bn. If a deal is agreed then expect a full barrage of national and supra-national regulatory inquiries to go ahead as NVIDIA's competitors seek to ensure that access to Arm's tech. isn't restricted in an unfair fashion.
SOURCE: Bloomberg News