NVIDIA will acquire Arm from SoftBank (SBG) in a transaction valued at $40 billion. The combination brings together NVIDIA’s leading AI computing platform with Arm’s vast ecosystem. SoftBank will remain committed to Arm’s long-term success through its ownership stake in NVIDIA, expected to be under 10 percent.
As part of NVIDIA, Arm would continue to operate its open-licensing model. It would also maintain the global customer neutrality that has been foundational to its success, with 180 billion chips shipped to-date by its licensees. Arm partners would also benefit from both companies’ offerings, including NVIDIA’s numerous innovations.
“AI is the most powerful technology force of our time and has launched a new wave of computing,” said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. “In the years ahead, trillions of computers running AI will create a new Internet-of-Things that is thousands of times larger than today’s Internet-of-people. Our combination will create a company fabulously positioned for the age of AI.”
Under the terms of the transaction, which has been approved by the boards of directors of NVIDIA, Softbank and Arm, NVIDIA will pay to SoftBank a total of $21.5 billion in NVIDIA common stock and $12 billion in cash. This includes $2 billion payable at signing.
“Arm and NVIDIA share a vision and passion that ubiquitous, energy-efficient computing will help address the world’s most pressing issues from climate change to healthcare, from agriculture to education,” said Simon Segars, CEO of Arm. “Delivering on this vision requires new approaches to hardware and software and a long-term commitment to research and development. By bringing together the technical strengths of our two companies we can accelerate our progress and create new solutions that will enable a global ecosystem of innovators. My management team and I are excited to be joining NVIDIA so we can write this next chapter together.”
The proposed transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals for the U.K., China, the European Union and the United States.
“NVIDIA is the perfect partner for Arm,” said Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SBG. “Since acquiring Arm, we have honored our commitments and invested heavily in people, technology and R&D, thereby expanding the business into new areas with high growth potential. Joining forces with a world leader in technology innovation creates new and exciting opportunities for Arm. This is a compelling combination that projects Arm, Cambridge and the U.K. to the forefront of some of the most exciting technological innovations of our time and is why SoftBank is excited to invest in Arm’s long-term success as a major shareholder in NVIDIA. We look forward to supporting the continued success of the combined business.”
UK Presence, R&D, AI Supercomputer
SoftBank and Arm say they are fully committed to satisfying the undertakings made by SoftBank when it acquired Arm in 2016, which are scheduled to complete in September 2021. Following the closing of the transaction, NVIDIA intends to retain the name and strong brand identity of Arm and expand its base in Cambridge. Arm’s intellectual property will remain registered in the U.K.
NVIDIA will build on Arm’s R&D presence in the United Kingdom, establishing a new global center of excellence in AI research at Arm’s Cambridge campus. NVIDIA will invest in a state-of-the-art, Arm-powered AI supercomputer, training facilities for developers and a startup incubator, which will attract world-class research talent and create a platform for innovation and industry partnerships in fields such as healthcare, robotics and self-driving cars.
“Arm has been at the core of our data center appliances since the beginning”, comments Phil Straw, CEO of SoftIron, a scale-out data center start-up. “Arm’s great combination of low power and balanced, high throughput I/O make it the perfect processor for building storage appliances, in particular. As the world moves toward edge infrastructure, Arm-enabled appliances will become even more highly prized for their advantages.
“SoftIron is excited and optimistic about the NVIDIA acquisition of Arm and what it portends for the future,” added Mr. Straw. “Nvidia’s aspirations to bolster their GPU-centric offering with Arm will prove to be a real force for innovation in the ‘x86 clone’ dominated data center landscape. Nvidia’s acquisition puts a spotlight on Arm technology and its potential to change data center architecture that we think is worthy of attention. SoftIron builds ‘task specific’ infrastructures leveraging best of breed technologies and we’re excited to see the innovation that Nvidia has in store.”