The EU competition authorities want to take a closer look at the planned takeover of the chip designer ARM by the graphics card specialist Nvidia. The EU Commission fears that the merger could “lead to higher prices, less choice and less innovation in the semiconductor industry,” it announced in Brussels on Wednesday. In addition, the emerging company could limit the access of Nvidia competitors to ARMs technology.
In September, Nvidia announced that it would buy CPU developer ARM for just under 40 billion US dollars. “According to our analysis, the takeover could restrict or make more difficult access to the intellectual property of ARM, which could lead to distortions in many markets in which semiconductors are used,” said the responsible Vice President of the EU Commission, Margrethe Vestager. The aim of the investigation is to ensure that companies in Europe continue to have access to the technology that is necessary to manufacture modern semiconductor products at competitive prices.
The EU Commission now has to decide on the planned merger by March 15, 2022. To allay concerns, Nvidia offered voluntary commitments at the beginning of October, which the agency does not consider to be sufficient. ARM is a key company for the entire smartphone industry. The basic architecture of the chips, which are used in practically all smartphones and most tablet computers by far, comes from the company. The previous owner is the Japanese group Softbank.