Brussels is set to launch a formal competition probe early next month into Nvidia’s planned $54 billion takeover of British chip designer Arm, after months of informal discussions between regulators and the US chip company.
The investigation is likely to begin after Nvidia officially notifies the European Commission of its plan to acquire Arm, with the US chipmaker planning to make its submission in the week starting September 6, according to two people with direct knowledge of the process. They added that the date might yet change, however.
Brussels’ investigation would come after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said its initial assessment of the deal suggested there were “serious competition concerns” and that a set of remedies suggested by Nvidia would not be sufficient to address them.
The UK watchdog said it feared the deal could “stifle innovation across a number of markets” including by giving Nvidia the power to hurt its rivals by limiting their access to Arm’s technology.
Nvidia announced a plan in September last year to buy the UK chip designer from SoftBank, the Japanese investment conglomerate.
But rival chip companies have raised objections to the deal, noting that Arm’s chip designs were widely licensed through the chip industry and that Nvidia would have the power to restrict rivals from using Arm technology, something the US company has denied it would do.
The CMA recommended an in-depth investigation into the deal, but the UK may also decide to block the takeover on national security grounds.
The European Commission said the EU had not yet been notified of the deal.
Nvidia said: “This transaction will be beneficial to Arm, its licensees, competition and the industry. We are working through the regulatory process and we look forward to engaging with the European Commission to explain the transaction and address any concerns they may have.”