NVIDIA’s year-and-a-half long effort to acquire Arm has come to an end this morning, as NVIDIA and Arm owner SoftBank have announced that the two companies are officially calling off the acquisition. Citing the current lack of regulatory approval of the deal and the multiple investigations that have been opened up into it, NVIDIA and SoftBank are giving up on their acquisition efforts, as the two firms no longer believe it will be possible to receive the necessary regulatory approvals needed to close the deal. In lieu of being able to sell Arm to NVIDIA (or seemingly anyone else), SoftBank is announcing that they will instead be taking Arm public.

First announced back in September of 2020, SoftBank and NVIDIA unveiled what was at the time a $40 billion deal to have NVIDIA acquire the widely popular IP firm. And though the two companies expected some regulatory headwind given the size of the deal and the importance of Arm’s IP to the broader technology ecosystem – Arm’s IP is in many chips in one form or another – SoftBank and NVIDIA still expected to eventually win regulatory approval.

However, after 17 months, it has become increasingly clear that government regulators were not apt to approve the deal. Even with concessions being made by NVIDIA, European Union regulators ended up opening an investigation into the acquisition, Chinese regulators have held off on approving the deal, and US regulators moved to outright block it. Concerns raised by regulators centered around NVIDIA gaining an unfair advantage over other companies who use Arm’s IP, both by controlling the direction of its development and by their position affording NVIDIA unique access to insights about what products Arm customers were developing – some of which would include products being designed to compete with NVIDIA’s own wares. Ultimately, regulators have shown a strong interest in retaining a competitive landscape for chips, with the belief that such a landscape wouldn’t be possible if Arm was owned by a chip designer such as NVIDIA.

As a result of these regulatory hurdles, NVIDIA and SoftBank have formally called off the acquisition, and the situation between the two companies is effectively returning to status quo. According to NVIDIA, the company will be retaining its 20 year Arm license, which will allow the company to continue developing and selling chips based around Arm IP and the Arm CPU architecture. Meanwhile SoftBank has received a $1.25 billion breakup fee from NVIDIA as a contractual consequence of the acquisition not going through.

In lieu of selling Arm to NVIDIA, SoftBank is now going to be preparing to take Arm public. According to the investment group, they are intending to IPO the company by the end of their next fiscal year, which ends on March 23rd of 2023 – essentially giving SoftBank a bit over a year to get the IPO organized. Meanwhile, according to Reuters, SoftBank’s CEO Masayoshi Son has indicated that the IPO will take place in the United States, most likely on the Nasdaq.

Once that IPO is completed, it will mark the second time that Arm has been a public company. Arm was a publicly-held company prior to the SoftBank acquisition in 2016, when SoftBank purchased the company for roughly $32 billion. And while it’s still too early to tell what Arm will be valued at a second time around, it goes without saying that SoftBank would like to turn a profit on the deal, which is why NVIDIA’s $40 billion offer was so enticing. Still, even with the popularity and ubiquity of Arm’s IP across the technology ecosystem, it’s not clear at this time whether SoftBank will be able to get something close to what they spent on Arm, in which case the investment firm is likely to end up taking a loss on the Arm acquisition.

Finally, the cancellation of the acquisition is also bringing some important changes to Arm itself. Simon Segars, Arm’s long-time CEO and major proponent of the acquisition, has stepped down from his position effective immediately. In his place, the Arm board of directors has already met and appointed Arm insider Rene Haas to the CEO position. Haas has been with Arm since 2013, and he has been president of the Arm IP Products Group since 2017.

Arm’s news release doesn’t offer any official insight into why Arm is changing CEOs at such a pivotal time. But with the collapse of the acquisition, Arm and SoftBank may be looking for a different kind of leader to take the company public over the next year.

Sources: NVIDIA, Arm

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  • vlad42 - Thursday, February 10, 2022 - link

    He's probably taking a break from digging in his back yard trying to prove the deep state exists and is run by lizard men residing in hollow earth. lol
  • Oxford Guy - Friday, February 11, 2022 - link

    Get back to me when you have something to say. I have tried to explain to you that trolling with ad hominem is not useful input.
  • vlad42 - Friday, February 11, 2022 - link

    Why am I not surprised, the person trolling by spreading bullshit conspiracy theories doesn't like being called out. Not only that, you have the audacity to accuse the people calling you out as the ones trolling.

    As long as you continue to spread these conspiracy theories you will be called out as the conspiracy theorist nutjob you act as.

    Get back to us when you are not spreading FUD, lies, and nonsense and have something to say based on actual facts.
  • Qasar - Friday, February 11, 2022 - link

    ad homenem:
    attacking an opponent's character or motives rather than answering the argument or claim.

    appealing to one's prejudices, emotions, or special interests rather than to one's intellect or reason

    Get back to us when you are not spreading FUD, lies, and nonsense and have something to say based on actual facts. " um this is all he does, and has, vlad. go look at 98% of his previous posts.
    HE gets called out for crap, and them claims some BS and calls it an ad hominem, which what HIS own posts are.
  • mode_13h - Saturday, February 12, 2022 - link

    > attacking an opponent's character or motives

    Sometimes, that's just a matter of seeing the forest instead of the trees.

    A troll loves to get people bogged down in having to pick apart one faithless or controversial point after another, but this gets tiring and eventually a bigger picture emerges that can't be ignored.

    So, you can keep making the kinds of posts we always complain about, but don't expect a different outcome. Or, maybe reconsider. It's up to you.
  • mode_13h - Saturday, February 12, 2022 - link

    > So, you can keep making the kinds of posts we always complain about

    Sorry, this part was aimed at "Oxford".
  • Oxford Guy - Saturday, February 12, 2022 - link

    Concern trolling isn’t defensible, like your use of ad hom instead of useful rebuttal information.

    No one is actually making you pollute the forum with troll posts, mode. That’s on you.
  • Qasar - Sunday, February 13, 2022 - link

    " No one is actually making you pollute the forum with troll posts, mode. That’s on you. "
    and no one is making you do the same thing with your BS conspiracy crap, console scam BS, and all the other crap you post that is just your option, whats your point, hypocrite ?
  • mode_13h - Sunday, February 13, 2022 - link

    > No one is actually making you pollute the forum with troll posts, mode. That’s on you.

    Nah bro. That's on you. You're the one making posts with a clear agenda and designed to inflame. Often jacking the thread way off-topic, in the process.

    Nice try accusing me of your own sins, though.

    Again, your trash posts aren't welcome by us. That you keep making them just proves you're here to troll rather than contribute in any meaningful way.
  • Oxford Guy - Monday, February 28, 2022 - link

    The truth is sometimes inflammatory. Not everything can be a carefully manufactured pieces of nonsense covered in corporate sugar. You're wasting everyone's time, both of you.

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