The UK government has launched an in-depth antitrust investigation into Nvidia’s $40 billion purchase of Arm.
On Tuesday, Digital and Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries ordered the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to undertake the investigation in response to findings that the deal could create “real problems” to competition.
Those findings were made as part of an initial investigation conducted by the CMA, which concluded there was a possibility the deal would result in a substantial lessening of competition across the data centres, IoT, automotive sector, and gaming applications markets.
The new investigation will build on that initial one, and has been labelled by Dorries as the phase two investigation for the Nvidia-Arm deal.
“Arm has a unique place in the global technology supply chain and we must make sure the implications of this transaction are fully considered. The CMA will now report to me on competition and national security grounds and provide advice on the next steps,” Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said.
UK’s decision to commence an in-depth investigation into the deal mirrors a similar decision made by the European Commission last month. At the time, the commission said it was concerned that Nvidia would restrict access to Arm IP, which it believed could lead to higher prices and lessened competition.
Regulators, along with the private sector, have all expressed concern over the deal as Arm’s IP is used by companies to produce chips and related products that rival those produced by Nvidia. Some of these companies include Intel, Qualcomm, AMD, and Xilinx.
The US chipmaker giant announced it was going to purchase Arm from Softbank last September.
At the time, Nvidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang told journalists that the companies were “completely complementary”.
“Nvidia doesn’t design CPUs, we have no CPU instruction set, Nvidia doesn’t license IP to semiconductor companies, so, and in that way, we’re not competitors. We have every intention to add more IP tools and also unlike Arm, Nvidia does not participate in the cell phone market,” he said.
“Our intention is to combine the engineering and the tech — the R&D capacity of both companies so that we can accelerate the development of technology for Arm’s vast ecosystem, and one of the areas … that we very interested in, is to accelerate the development of server CPUs.”
The UK’s phase two investigation will last for 24 weeks.