Nvidia claims critics are ‘romanticising Arm’s past’ as it fires back in row over takeover of UK chip designer
Nvidia and Arm have defended their blockbuster chip deal just months before the Government decides whether or not to block the takeover.
The proposed acquisition of British chip designer Arm by its American rival is under investigation by regulators around the world amid fears it could hit competition.
But in a document submitted to the Competition and Markets Authority, the firms argue that the £31billion deal is the best option on the table, adding that it is the only way for Arm to find the investment it needs.
Competition fears: The proposed acquisition of British chip designer Arm by its American rival Nvidia is under investigation by regulators around the world
The deal has faced a wave of criticism with many in the industry calling for Arm to be listed on the London Stock Exchange instead of sold off to a US tech rival.
But in the document both rule out the option, stating that Arm is not in a fit state to be floated and accusing opponents of ‘romanticising Arm’s past’.
The document said: ‘In the media deal opponents urge the CMA to block the deal so that Arm can pursue an initial public offering. They equate Arm’s popularity with a high market valuation and success, but the public markets are unsentimental.
‘Arm has endured flat revenues, rising costs, and lower profits that would present challenges for a 30-year-old public company.
‘The capital markets would expect Arm to make significant strategic changes, including cutting costs to maximize Arm’s value.’
Arm chief executive Simon Segars added: ‘We contemplated an IPO [initial public offering] but determined that the pressure to deliver short-term revenue growth and profitability would suffocate our ability to invest, expand, move fast and innovate.’
The defence has been published two months after ministers ordered a full-blown investigation into Nvidia’s takeover of Arm on competition and national security grounds. But yesterday’s document failed to mention security even once.
When the investigation was launched in November it was off the back of findings from the National Cyber Security Centre, the Government organisation which provides cyber security guidance, who had identified ‘a number of potential risks to national security’.
However, the two companies did address competition concerns, in particular the idea that Nvidia would cut off competitors from essential Arm technology – ending Arm’s history as a neutral supplier.
The document said: ‘The theory does not hold up to scrutiny.
‘Trying to foreclose Arm licensees would immediately reduce Arm’s licensing revenue, immediately damaging Nvidia’s investment. No economically rational, publicly traded entity would embrace such a self-defeating strategy.’
Nvidia – which is based in California –agreed to buy Cambridge-based Arm from Japanese giant Softbank in September 2020 and had wanted to close the deal by March this year.
That deadline will not be met as the Government is set to make a decision in May, while regulators in China, the US and EU are also scrutinising the deal.