US chip giant Nvidia to buy UK chip designer Arm for $40 billion
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US chip giant Nvidia to buy UK chip designer Arm for $40 billion

Acquisition will create ‘premier computing company’ for age of artificial intelligence, Nvidia says; US firm plans to expand UK site to ‘build a world-class AI research facility’

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Nvidia's founder and CEO Jensen Huang speaking at the firm's GTC developers conference in Tel Aviv on October 18, 2017 (Courtesy)
Nvidia's founder and CEO Jensen Huang speaking at the firm's GTC developers conference in Tel Aviv on October 18, 2017 (Courtesy)

US gaming and computer graphics giant Nvidia Corp. said it will buy Cambridge, UK based chip designer Arm Ltd. from SoftBank Group Corp. for as much as $40 billion, in a bid to position itself as a “premier computing company” for the age of artificial intelligence.

Nvidia made the announcement of the deal early Monday morning, Israel time.

The deal has to potential to “reshape the global semiconductor landscape” and is expected to see “pushback” from regulators and competitors, as it puts the supply of vital chips for product manufacturers under the control of a single player, Reuters said. Nvidia is the biggest US chip firm by market capitalization.

“The combination brings together Nvidia’s leading AI computing platform with Arm’s vast ecosystem to create the premier computing company for the age of artificial intelligence, accelerating innovation while expanding into large, high-growth markets,” Nvidia, Arm and SoftBank said in a statement.

“AI is the most powerful technology force of our time and has launched a new wave of computing,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of Nvidia in the statement. “In the years ahead, trillions of computers running AI will create a new internet-of-things that is thousands of times larger than today’s internet-of-people. Our combination will create a company fabulously positioned for the age of AI.”

“Uniting NVIDIA’s AI computing capabilities with the vast ecosystem of Arm’s CPU, we can advance computing from the cloud, smartphones, PCs, self-driving cars and robotics, to edge IoT, and expand AI computing to every corner of the globe,” Huang said. A CPU is a central processing unit, the electronic circuits that execute the instructions dictated by a computer program.

In April, Nvidia completed the acquisition of Israel’s Mellanox Technologies Ltd. for $7 billion. The acquisition was initially announced on March 11, 2019.

Arm will remain headquartered in Cambridge, and Nvidia plans to expand the firm “and build a world-class AI research facility,” that will support developments in healthcare, life sciences, robotics, self-driving cars and other fields, Huang said.

To attract researchers and scientists from the UK and around the world to conduct their work there, Nvidia will build “a state-of-the-art AI supercomputer, powered by Arm CPUs,” he said.

Arm has developed energy-efficient processor designs that have enabled 180 billion chips to perform intelligent computing calculations. Its technologies now power a range of products, including sensors, smartphones and supercomputers.

Nvidia’s Huang said the deal marks “the first time in history the industry could see something that is genuinely alternative” to Intel Corp’s domination of the sector, Reuters reported.

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