LONDON Reuters ordered an in-depth investigation of Nvidia Corp's planned $50 billion-plus acquisition of UK-based chip designer Arm from Japan's SoftBank over antitrust and national security concerns.
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said Britain's Competition Markets Authority CMA would investigate the deal over the next six months, adding to the scrutiny already underway in Europe and China.
She said that arm has a unique place in the global technology supply chain and we must make sure that the implications of this transaction are fully considered.
The CMA will report to me on competition and national security grounds and give advice on the next steps. Nvidia, the world's biggest maker of graphics and AI chips, agreed to buy Arm from SoftBank in September 2020 for up to $40 billion in cash and stock, triggering a backlash from Arm's customers, many of which compete with the U.S. buyer.
The technology used by chipmakers such as Apple, Samsung Electronics and Qualcomm is used to make their own processors.
Nvidia has pledged to maintain neutrality that has been central to Arm's success, with 180 billion chips shipped to date and its technology powering nearly all smartphones.
Britain said that the security and resilience of the supply chain was important for UK national security and that not all devices using Arm-based chips were necessarily classed as critical in themselves.
Nvidia plans to address the CMA's initial concerns on competition, which the regulator flagged in August, and will continue to work with the British government over the deal.
A spokesman said that Phase 2 will allow us to demonstrate that the transaction will help to accelerate Arm and boost competition and innovation, including in the UK.