The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) today sued to block Nvidia’s $40 billion acquisition of chip designer Arm, citing competitive concerns.
“The FTC is suing to block the largest semiconductor chip merger in history to prevent a chip conglomerate from stifling the innovation pipeline for next-generation technologies,” FTC Bureau of Competition Director Holly Vedova said. “Tomorrow’s technologies depend on preserving today’s competitive, cutting-edge chip markets. This proposed deal would distort Arm’s incentives in chip markets and allow the combined firm to unfairly undermine Nvidia’s rivals. The FTC’s lawsuit should send a strong signal that we will act aggressively to protect our critical infrastructure markets from illegal vertical mergers that have far-reaching and damaging effects on future innovations.”
Nvidia announced its intention to purchase Arm from Softbank for about $40 billion, over one year ago, in September 2020. But the deal fell under immediate criticism from the major industry players that rely on Arm’s chipset designs, and the UK government announced in April that it would “intervene” for national security reasons. In August, Nvidia admitted that the acquisition, which it had hoped to finalize by the end of 2021, would likely be delayed.
Now, it may not happen at all.
“We will continue to work to demonstrate that this transaction will benefit the industry and promote competition,” Nvidia said, adding that it would contest the FTC lawsuit.