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Nvidia's takeover of chipmaker Arm will be subject of full UK government investigation

The UK is worried that Nvidia's proposed acquisition of the British chipmaker could pose a national security threat.

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Nvidia's takeover of Arm continues to be under scrutiny.
Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The UK government will conduct an in-depth investigation into Nvidia's proposed takeover of British chipmaker Arm, it announced on Tuesday. The investigation, which is set to take around six months, will look at whether Nvidia's acquisition of the company would pose a risk to the UK on either competition or national security grounds.

Japanese tech giant SoftBank agreed to sell Arm to Nvidia in September 2020 as part of a $40 billion deal, the chip industry's largest. Arm isn't as well known as mega chip companies such as Qualcomm and Intel, but its work lies behind the processors inside many of the world's mobile phones. It's also one of the UK's biggest tech success stories, which is why the government is paying such close attention to its takeover.

The UK's digital secretary, Nadine Dorries, has tasked the Competition Markets Authority, the UK's regulator, with conducting the investigation following an initial inquiry launched in April. A report following the initial investigation found that Nvidia's takeover of Arm poses a risk to competition across four market segments -- data centers, gaming, automotive and internet of things. Evidence uncovered in the first probe means that further investigation into whether the acquisition would be a national security threat is also warranted, the government said.

"Arm has a unique place in the global technology supply chain and we must make sure the implications of this transaction are fully considered," said Dorries in a statement. "The CMA will now report to me on competition and national security grounds and provide advice on the next steps."

Nvidia didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.