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Report: Nvidia's Getting Serious About Acquiring Arm

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Two weeks ago a report surfaced detailing Nvidia's apparent interest in acquiring Arm. Now, it looks like negotiations are already well underway, as reported by Bloomberg

According to the publication, which cited "people familiar with the matter," Nvidia is Arm's only potential buyer right now. The companies are reportedly in "advanced talks" and considering a transaction of stock and cash, though no price has been set yet. Arm was valued at $32 billion back when SoftBank acquired the company in 2016. Nvidia would be able to afford this transaction thanks to increases in its stock price over the past year.

In four years under SoftBank's direction, Arm's annual revenue has only increased from $1.2 billion to $1.9 billion, as reported by the Financial Times. Under a new roof, such as Nvidia's, there is a chance that Arm could meet higher expectations. Nvidia's revenue has tripled in that same timeframe.

However, there are concerns to be had with Nvidia acquiring Arm. The transaction would have to be subject to tough antitrust investigations, as Arm is a fundamental player in much of the technology industry. Arm licenses its architectures to clients such as Qualcomm, Apple, Broadcom and even Nvidia itself from time to time. Placing this licensor in the hands of Nvidia would give the graphics card maker a lot of power in the market.

One of the important developments to note in this process is that Apple is currently transitioning its Mac systems to its own silicon design, which will feature an Arm architecture. 

Whether the deal will go through is unknown, but we do know that if it happens, it could fundamentally change the technology landscape as we know it.

  • Chung Leong
    A big rationale behind the deal, I think, is getting Nvidia's AI tech into ARM-powered devices. That helps solidify CUDA's position as the platform of choice. Tensor cores in phones can also help Nvidia's cloud gaming effort. Using DLSS on the receiving end could greatly reduce the bandwidth necessary.
    Reply
  • spentshells
    I like this idea, I was always surprised Apple used AMD products to begin with, Just imagine the price of a MacBook pro with a Nvidia workstation graphics card. Oooof
    Reply
  • castl3bravo
    Eewwwww. Nvidia's antics aren't a good sign of things to come if the acquire Arm successfully. Arm's intellectual property extends to "smart" devices everywhere. Not just Apple, but cellphones, WiFi routers, Microwaves, refrigerators, doorbells. Oh and what about 5G cellphone networks? These networks will be a heavy user of Arm based CPUs for 5G enabled "Internet of Things" (IoT) devices you'll be buying a couple of years. I predict an Nvidia tax for all those new 5G enabled smart devices.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    Chung Leong said:
    A big rationale behind the deal, I think, is getting Nvidia's AI tech into ARM-powered devices.
    Sorry, I don't agree with this, at all. ARM already has its own AI cores. And last time Nvidia tried to play in the phone market, it didn't go very well.

    https://www.anandtech.com/show/15817/arm-announces-ethosn78-npu-bigger-and-more-efficient
    Chung Leong said:
    That helps solidify CUDA's position as the platform of choice.
    No, it doesn't. Google doesn't want Android apps using CUDA or any other APIs besides the ones officially included in the Android spec, and there's no way Google is adding CUDA to Android.

    Android already abstracts the underlying technology used in deep learning acceleration, so you're insulated from whatever lower-level technology the device is using.

    BTW, Nvidia already partnered with ARM to integrate its deep learning tech in their platform:

    Under this partnership, NVIDIA and Arm will integrate the open-source NVIDIA Deep Learning Accelerator (NVDLA) architecture into Arm’s Project Trillium platform for machine learning. The collaboration will make it simple for IoT chip companies to integrate AI into their designs and help put intelligent, affordable products into the hands of billions of consumers worldwide.
    https://nvidianews.nvidia.com/news/nvidia-and-arm-partner-to-bring-deep-learning-to-billions-of-iot-devices
    I think Nvidia did that because it wanted to create downstream demand for its training GPUs and infrastructure. You don't open-source something like NVDLA if you actually want to monetize that market.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    spentshells said:
    I like this idea, I was always surprised Apple used AMD products to begin with, Just imagine the price of a MacBook pro with a Nvidia workstation graphics card. Oooof
    Given that Apple is now also making its own GPUs for its iPhones, it could be a matter of time before they just scale these up for their laptops, like they're doing with the CPUs.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    castl3bravo said:
    I predict an Nvidia tax for all those new 5G enabled smart devices.
    This could just hasten the industry's transition to RISC V.
    Reply
  • Chung Leong
    bit_user said:
    Sorry, I don't agree with this, at all. ARM already has its own AI cores. And last time Nvidia tried to play in the phone market, it didn't go very well.

    If you can't beat them, buy them out :-)
    Reply
  • thisisaname
    One thing is for certain they would be stupid to pay anywhere near $32 billion for them.

    Placing this licensor in the hands of Nvidia would give the graphics card maker a lot of power in the market.
    They flex that power to much RISC V would get a lot more support.
    ARM's business model is make something good that people want them licence it relatively cheaply. They make a nice amount from licensing from volume of devices not a big up front cost.

    In four years under SoftBank's direction, Arm's annual revenue has only increased from $1.2 billion to $1.9 billion, as reported by the Financial Times. Under a new roof, such as Nvidia's, there is a chance that Arm could meet higher expectations. Nvidia's revenue has tripled in that same timeframe.
    Total different business you squeeze licensees to much and that is going to kill the business.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    thisisaname said:
    One thing is for certain they would be stupid to pay anywhere near $32 billion for them.
    I agree with this, but mainly because of China looking to move away from Western tech and the threat RISC V now poses. Both of those factors significantly limit ARM's growth potential.

    In the near term, I think the biggest effect of RISC V will be simply to exert downward pricing pressure on ARM. From the time they became a dominant player until now, they could basically charge as much as the market would bear.
    Reply
  • jtremblant
    For those happy for this allegedly new Nvidia adquisition, think again you will be very likely paying twice for an ARM IP license and that will reflect upon not only ARM customers but end users as well. There's only one thing Nvidia excels at, making money by overcharging for their products. Also, consider the return of investment for the green company regarding this huge expense. Apple will be moving in 5 years to RISC-V once Nvidia start hiking up ARM IP license fees every year.
    Reply