The European Commission (EC) this week extended its probe of Nvidia's proposed acquisition of Arm until at least October 27 and said that Nvidia offered the EU certain concessions to in a bid to persuade the bloc's antimonopoly regulators to approve the deal. Experts say that the EU regulatory review will take considerably longer.
In a bid to make regulators approve the deal to acquire Arm, Nvidia is eager to offer various incentives to respective countries or blocs. In the U.K., the company proposed to invest 'at least' $100 million in the country's most powerful supercomputer. The EC said that it had received concessions proposal from Nvidia as well, but did not elaborate, reports Bloomberg.
Now that the probe is formally extended to October 27, the EU competition authority will request opinion from competitors and clients before determining whether to accept Nvidia's concessions, demand more or initiate a four-month long investigation, reports Reuters. Bloomberg believes that the probe will be extended further, which will give the EC some additional time to seek feedback from interested parties and figure out what it might get from Nvidia.
The U.K.'s Competition and Market Authority (CMA) in August started an in-depth Phase 2 probe of Nvidia's planned purchase of Arm that could potentially take up to 24 weeks and could be extended by up to an additional 8 weeks. Earlier this year CMA expressed concerns on national security grounds when it launched its Phase 1 probe.
Analysts from Citigroup gave Nvidia's proposed buyout of Arm a 10% chance of approval by all regulatory agencies in the world back in April.
Nvidia is trying to persuade antimonopoly regulators in different countries that its proposed acquisition of Arm is highly complementary as Nvidia does not have significant interest in CPU business, whereas Arm does not develop its own standalone GPUs. Nvidia's opponents like Qualcomm and Samsung worry that once Nvidia gains Arm's CPU IP, it will restrict their access to the latest technologies in a bid to produce leading-edge processors itself. Nvidia says that it has no such plans.
In general, many Arm clients want the UK-base processor IP designer to stay an independent designer of CPUs and GPU and do not want Nvidia to have influence on hundreds of Arm licensees and even on international projects, such as development of Arm-based exascale supercomputers in Europe. Meanwhile, Broadcom, Marvell, and MediaTek support the transaction.
But surely we can trust a company who hands out bribes right?
This sounds exactly like a bribe. When I heard concessions I was expecting to hear promises to keep the businesses operating fairly separately, or contractual obligations to keep providing ARM IP to all existing customers without regards for how directly they might be competing with NVIDIA. I didn't expect to hear that NVIDIA is buying out the EU's regulatory authorities in addition to ARM. This is not ethical, and is the exact sort of behavior that regulatory bodies were intended to prevent.
Not quite a bribe as a bribe is done in secret while this is being done in the open. Does make me wonder if this works how many others are going to want their "monetary concession" to make their objection go away.
The article doesn't say anything about cash payments. The UK's most powerful super computer is powered by 80 Nvidia DGX A100's. The "investment" could be "donating" updated hardware, or more nodes. Or maybe Nvidia will set up a 1-800 number the UK can call 24-7 for free tech support.
That's exactly what I initially thought, but I guess the only thing that they are conceding is some cash.
Oops, looks like $100 million investment news came out a few months ago, I had only been looking for more recent articles.