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Nvidia, the world’s leading maker of graphics and artificial chips, is set to notify the European Commission of its plans to purchase Arm this week. Brussels appeared ready to wave the acquisition through without any opposition, but there are a number of politicians and experts calling for it to be blocked. Among them, Mr Musk – the CEO of electric car Tesla – who has reportedly signalled competition concerns over the buy-out of the Cambridge semiconductor company.
The US monopolies watchdog, the Federal Trade Commission, launched an inquiry into the deal earlier this year and its findings are expected in the coming weeks.
The Sunday Telegraph also understands that e-commerce giant Amazon and smartphone maker Samsung have lodged opposition to the deal with US authorities.
None of the companies have commented on reports from the Telegraph.
The deal is facing scrutiny in the UK.
The Competition and Markets Authority has already warned that it posed “significant” concerns.
Arm, which was acquired by Japan’s SoftBank in 2016, licenses microchip technology that is used as the blueprint for billions of smartphone processors and is viewed as a key strategic player in the chip sector.
Critics of the deal argue it would combine Nvidia’s leading supply of graphics chips with the Cambridge’s firm’s mobile products.
The pair could also dominate the supply of data centre chip designs.
Concerns have also come from within the bloc, with Industry Commissioner Thierry Breton, warning of the geopolitical and technological implications.
He said: “I’m looking at this with a lot of attention, I can tell you, and we understand extremely well the strategic dimension of this potential merger.”
Mr Breton is the former CEO of France’s supercomputer-maker ATOS and he argues that demand for chips is only going to increase in the age of connected and smart appliances.
If Europe wants to remain an industrial powerhouse, it will have to make sure its companies can get the semiconductors they need.
German industry and the economy ministry in Berlin are also following the deal closely, according to Politico.
But some in the Commission are said to be hoping the UK can do their dirty work for them.
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According to reports, they are hoping the CMA’s investigations into the merger will put forward strong arguments to block the deal on national security grounds.
Brussels unusually believes it has a say over any Nvidia-Arm merger because the UK half of the deal has a turnover in the EU that passes a threshold, and is therefore deemed to have an “EU dimension”.
Britain has used Brexit to breakaway from the EU’s competition policy.
As an independent nation, the UK can wield powers to block mergers if there are genuine concerns it will distort the domestic market.
The Government is examining the Nvidia-Arm deal on national security grounds, raising a further hurdle to its completion.
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