By outstripping Intel’s market value, NVIDIA has become the most valuable semiconductor company in America. But this achievement may not be enough. There are rumors behind the scenes that the company is interested in acquiring ARM.
That would be a good deal for Nvidia. Today, ARM-based chips are found in many electronic devices such as routers, Bluetooth headsets, car panels, and, most importantly, mobile phones and tablets.
In June, Apple confirmed its plans to launch Macs with ARM-based processors and to abandon Intel models. This may indirectly open the way for PC ARM chips. In other words, ARM is thriving and has a bright future.
Since 2016, ARM Holdings has been controlled by the Japanese SoftBank Group, which paid $32 billion to close the deal. However, according to the Wall Street Journal, SoftBank has investigated the possibility of selling ARM, partially or completely.
There are rumors that in order to realize this idea, SoftBank has found Apple, but is not interested in the company, at least for one of these reasons. The ARM licensing model is incompatible with the Apple business; the transaction may cause regulatory (antitrust) problems for Apple.
For Nvidia, the deal makes more sense. The acquisition may allow the company to operate in other segments of the semiconductor industry, expanding its business beyond its core business: graphic chips.
Antitrust restrictions may be obstacles, but for Nvidia, it is less likely. For Apple, this could be a problem, after all, regulators could consider the possibility that the company would make it more difficult to license ARM architecture to e.g. companies producing chips for Android devices.
Let it be clear that no agreement has been signed so far. It seems that Nvidia is an interested party, but SoftBank would be ready to listen to other proposals. It is possible that, in order to avoid regulatory complications. The Japanese group is more likely to enter into transactions with a neutral company, i.e. one that does not operate in the semiconductor sector.