Qualcomm ready to invest in Arm if $ 40 billion deal with Nvidia collapses


US tech giant Qualcomm has opened the door to competing investment in Arm if the UK microchip company’s $ 40 billion (£ 28 billion) sale to Nvidia is blocked.

Cristiano Amon, the new CEO of Qualcomm, said The telegraph he would be willing to buy a stake in Arm alongside a consortium of industry players if owner SoftBank launched the company instead of selling it to Nvidia.

Nvidia hit back at the suggestion, saying an IPO would hamper Arm’s development.

Qualcomm and companies such as Google and Microsoft have raised concerns over Nvidia’s purchase of Arm, saying the deal threatens the independence of the Cambridge-based company and will hurt competition.

“If Arm has an independent future, I think you will find that many companies in the ecosystem, including Qualcomm, are very interested in investing in Arm,” Mr. Amon said.

“If it leaves SoftBank and enters a process to become a publicly traded company, [with] a consortium of companies investing, including many of its clients, I think those are great opportunities, ”he said.

“We will certainly be open to it and we have had discussions with other companies who feel the same way.” Industry sources said other companies who expressed concerns about the deal included Tesla and Amazon.

Arm, whose chip designs power billions of smartphones as well as a growing number of cars and connected smart devices, was listed in London until 2016, when SoftBank paid £ 24 billion for the company. .

Last September, Nvidia announced a deal to buy the company, although the deal is the subject of several competition investigations in the UK, US, EU and China.

Nvidia, which says it expects the acquisition to be completed early next year, has pledged to maintain Arm’s neutral licensing model, but opponents say the deal would give Nvidia a unprecedented position in areas such as data center chips.

“This is why it is a logical conclusion for us, and for many other companies, that investing in a strong, independent arm is probably the best for everyone,” said Amon.

A spokesperson for Nvidia said, “To grow and meet the demands of the AI ​​age, Arm needs more than an IPO. Arm needs an infusion of new technology that it can deliver to Arm licensees everywhere, which is why we have stepped up and agreed to purchase Arm. Our technologies and Qualcomm’s are highly complementary – we would love to help Qualcomm create new technologies and products for the entire Arm ecosystem. “

Nvidia recently filed the agreement with Chinese regulators to seek approval from Beijing authorities. The US Federal Trade Commission has asked corporate clients to respond to the deal, while the UK Competition and Markets Authority is assessing the acquisition on national security grounds.

Microsoft and Google declined to comment.

Read on for our full interview with Qualcomm’s new CEO Cristiano Amon

A handful of companies are credited with creating the modern smartphone industry. Apple, via its iPhone; Samsung, which brought cheaper devices to users around the world; and Google, whose Android software powered them.

Another entry on this list, but perhaps less well known, is Qualcomm. The $ 150 billion (£ 106 billion) titan of San Diego may not be a household name, but he has developed much of the technology behind the high-speed wireless networks that provide internet connections. 3G and 4G.

Bosses are now betting big on a 5G revolution – hoping for a massive acceleration in growth as the potential of high-speed internet technology extends from mobiles to almost every device in the modern home.

5G promises internet speeds up to 100 times faster than 4G networks, with more reliable connections. Technology has its share of skeptics who argue that the returns from such advances are marginal and that 5G has yet to demonstrate a compelling use case. Unsurprisingly, Qualcomm’s new chief executive, Cristiano Amon, is not one of them.

“When Qualcomm started developing 4G, everyone already had a phone,” he says.

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