Bloomberg reports that NVIDIA is quietly preparing to abandon its $40 billion acquisition of Arm from Softbank in the wake of pushback from Arm partners and regulatory scrutiny. As a result, Softbank will likely look at taking Arm public via an IPO, the report says.
Despite this, both NVIDIA and Arm presented an optimistic public face.
“We continue to hold the views expressed in detail in our latest regulatory filings, that this transaction provides an opportunity to accelerate Arm and boost competition and innovation,” and NVIDIA statement reads.
“We remain hopeful that the transaction will be approved,” SoftBank added.
It won’t be. As soon as NVIDIA announced its intention to acquire Arm in September 2020, the deal came under fire from Arm’s partners—companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung, and others that rely on Arm technologies—and from regulatory bodies around the world.
The UK struck first, stating that it would “intervene” in April 2021 for national security reasons. And by August 2021, NVIDIA was forced to admit that the acquisition, which it had hoped to conclude by the end of that year, would be delayed.
But the UK wasn’t alone in resisting the deal. China revealed that NVIDIA didn’t seek regulatory approval for the deal there until June 2021 and that its investigation would take 18 months. And the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued to block the acquisition in December 2021, citing competitive concerns. That was, perhaps, the final nail in the coffin: according to Bloomberg, NVIDIA has made “little to no progress in winning approval for the deal.”