Nvidia confirmed that it is acquiring processor architecture firm Arm from Softbank for $40 billion. The deal confirms after weeks of speculation as well as a report yesterday by the Wall Street Journal.
Santa Clara, California-based Nvidia, a maker of graphics and AI chips, said the deal consolidates its expertise in artificial intelligence with Arm’s vast computing ecosystem. Cambridge, England-based Arm has more than 6,000 employees, while Nvidia has more than 13,000.
SoftBank took Arm private in 2016 for $32 billion. At the time, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said he was preparing for the Singularity, the predicted day when AI collectively becomes more intelligent than human beings. But SoftBank has run into a cash crunch after losing billions of dollars due to the pandemic and bad bets on Uber and WeWork.
Nvidia said it will expand Arm’s presence in the U.K. by establishing a world-class AI research and education center there, and it will build an Arm/Nvidia-powered AI supercomputer for research. Nvidia also said that it would continue the open-licensing policy of Arm with its customers, who shipped more than 22 billion chips last year for everything from smartphones to tablet computers and internet of things sensors. Nvidia, by comparison, ships around 100 million.
In a letter to employees, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said, “Arm’s business model is brilliant. We will maintain its open-licensing model and customer neutrality, serving customers in any industry, across the world, and further expand Arm’s IP licensing portfolio with NVIDIA’s world-leading GPU and AI technology.”
He said the deal will expand Nvidia’s reach to programmers from the current 2 million to more than 15 million.
In a conference call, Huang repeated the promise to retain the open-licensing policy and he said that Nvidia and Arm are complimentary. As a result, Huang