SoftBank is reportedly close to selling ARM to NVIDIA

The deal would create a chip giant like no other -- if it goes through.

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The nVIDIA booth is shown at the E3 2017 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, U.S. June 13, 2017.  REUTERS/ Mike Blake
REUTERS/ Mike Blake

SoftBank might be close to finding a buyer for ARM, and it won’t surprise you who the bidder might be. Wall Street Journal sources say SoftBank is close to a deal to sell ARM Holdings to NVIDIA for “more than” $40 billion. The two have reportedly been in exclusive talks for several weeks, and an agreement is near enough that they could finalize the sale by early next week.

The deal would turn a profit for SoftBank, which bought ARM in 2016 for $32 billion.

NVIDIA declined to comment to Engadget. We’ve also asked SoftBank and ARM for comment.

If a deal goes through, it could represents one of the largest semiconductor buyouts in history. It potentially gives NVIDIA an edge across a wide range of computing devices, ranging from mobile chips to the most powerful supercomputers. For SoftBank, it would prop up sagging stocks and help the Japanese tech giant refocus.

However, this is also assuming any deal clears regulatory hurdles. NVIDIA clearly wouldn’t be a neutral owner. It might face stiff opposition from officials concerned that it might withhold technology from rival chipmakers or otherwise give itself an unfair advantage. It could effectively dictate the futures of companies that design ARM-based chips, like Apple and Samsung, and both the government and competitors would likely want reassurances that ARM’s owner will play fair.

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