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Nvidia close to buying Arm from SoftBank, says report

Graphics-chip maker Nvidia is reportedly nearing an agreement to acquire the semiconductor designer.

Nvidia booth getting set for CES
James Martin/CNET

Nvidia, which makes graphics processors, is close to buying chipmaker Arm from Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, with a transaction set to be announced as soon as next week, Bloomberg reported Saturday, citing anonymous sources. The deal could value Arm at around $40 billion in cash and stock, Bloomberg said, noting that it could be the largest-ever deal in the chip industry.

Nvidia declined to comment on the report. SoftBank had no comment, and Arm didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The acquisition talks could still cave in, and if a deal does go through, it'll probably prompt intense regulatory scrutiny, Bloomberg said.

The news outlet reported last week that Nvidia and SoftBank were in advanced talks, with Nvidia the lone potential buyer. That followed an earlier report by The Wall Street Journal that SoftBank was considering a sale of Arm. The Journal also reported Saturday's news of an imminent Nvidia-SoftBank agreement.

Read more: Apple gives Macs a brain transplant with new Arm chips starting this year

In June, Apple said it would overhaul its Mac computers with its own Arm chips, which are similar to the ones it designs for iPhones and iPads, moving away from the Intel processors it's used for the past 14 years. Arm licenses its chip instruction set -- the collection of commands software can use to control a chip -- to companies like Apple that design their own processors.

SoftBank purchased UK-based Arm four years ago for nearly $32 billion.

CNET's Sean Keane contributed to this report.