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Nvidia to buy Arm in $40bn transaction

Nvidia will pay $40bn to purchase Arm Limited from SoftBank, in an effort to create the world’s premier AI chipmaker

|Sep 14|magazine7 min read

On Sunday, Nvidia announced that it has reached an agreement with Japanese firm SoftBank to purchase Arm Limited in a $40bn transaction.

Arm, a UK-based semiconductor and hardware manufacturer, currently makes chipsets and processing hardware for some of the mobile industry’s largest players, including Apple, Samsung and Qualcomm. 

Nvidia reportedly hopes to leverage Arm’s vast ecosystem, both as a way to further cement its status as the industry’s leading GPU manufacturer, and as a way of driving forward the next stage in the evolution of AI computing. 

“AI is the most powerful technology force of our time and has launched a new wave of computing,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA in a press release. “In the years ahead, trillions of computers running AI will create a new internet-of-things that is thousands of times larger than today’s internet-of-people. Our combination will create a company fabulously positioned for the age of AI.” 

Huang noted that Arm’s massive global footprint and broad range of solutions were the reason behind the purchase, adding that “Simon Segars and his team at Arm have built an extraordinary company that “Uniting NVIDIA’s AI computing capabilities with the vast ecosystem of Arm’s CPU, we can advance computing from the cloud, smartphones, PCs, self-driving cars and robotics, to edge IoT, and expand AI computing to every corner of the globe.” 

SoftBank purchased Arm back in 2016 for $31bn. Arm also will, reportedly, continue to work on existing commitments made to SoftBank, which are predicted to be completed in September 2021. 

Nvidia, like SoftBank, does not appear to have any radical changes in store for the company, at least in the short term. “NVIDIA intends to retain the name and strong brand identity of Arm and expand its base in Cambridge,” claimed a spokesperson for Nvidia. Arm’s intellectual property will also remain registered in the UK. 

Nvidia also revealed that it plans to build an AI research and development division in the UK, at Arm’s Cambridge campus headquarters. 

“Arm will remain headquartered in Cambridge. We will expand on this great site and build a world-class AI research facility, supporting developments in healthcare, life sciences, robotics, self-driving cars and other fields. And, to attract researchers and scientists from the U.K. and around the world to conduct groundbreaking work, NVIDIA will build a state-of-the-art AI supercomputer, powered by Arm CPUs. Arm Cambridge will be a world-class technology center,” added Huang. 

Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank Group also commented on the sale. “NVIDIA is the perfect partner for Arm. Since acquiring Arm, we have honoured our commitments and invested heavily in people, technology and R&D, thereby expanding the business into new areas with high growth potential. Joining forces with a world leader in technology innovation creates new and exciting opportunities for Arm. This is a compelling combination that projects Arm, Cambridge and the U.K. to the forefront of some of the most exciting technological innovations of our time and is why SoftBank is excited to invest in Arm’s long-term success as a major shareholder in NVIDIA. We look forward to supporting the continued success of the combined business.”

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