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Nvidia acquisition of ARM in the balance as regulators take their time

US semiconductor company Nvidia has admitted regulatory investigations of its proposed acquisition of UK-based chip designer Arm won’t be completed within its anticipated timescales.

The admission was made by Nvidia boss Jensen Huang in an interview with the FT. “Our discussions with regulators are taking longer than initially thought, so it’s pushing out the timetable,” he said. “It’s not one particular regulator, but we’re confident in the deal, we’re confident regulators should recognise the benefits of the acquisition.”

Having said that, it’s clear the UK and China are two of the biggest obstacles. The UK announced earlier this year that it wanted to take a closer look at the deal, mainly on national security grounds, but US-based Nvidia would appear to be a relatively safe pair of hands in that respect. The bigger concern, surely, is that Nvidia would need to do business with direct competitors who license Arm designs if the acquisition goes through.

Given the currently fraught global semiconductor environment which, by design, is especially affecting Chinese companies, it wouldn’t be surprising if Chinese regulators were hesitant to allow even more of that industry to fall under direct US influence. Of course, they could also block the deal just to get their own back for all the indignities suffered by the likes of Huawei and ZTE at US hands, so the odds of this deal going through seems to be lengthening by the day.


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