Nvidia’s Chief Executive Officer Jensen Huang said he is still confident regulators will green-light its $40 billion acquisition of SoftBank Group’s Arm Ltd., despite growing scepticism about the deal’s prospects.
Government approval in China and elsewhere may come later this year or in 2022, Huang said over video at the Computex conference in Taipei on Wednesday. He pointed out that an earlier acquisition took about a year and a half so it is likely the current process will be similar.
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“I expect this one to take 18 months so that’s later this year, early next year. I am confident about the transaction,” he said. “Our companies are complementary so we’ll bring, by nature, innovations that come as a result of companies that come together and offer complimentary things.”
The comments come as the semiconductor industry’s biggest-ever acquisition faces increasing headwinds from regulators in China and the UK Chinese technology companies including Huawei Technologies Co. are lobbying their government against the transaction, while a regulator in the UK, where Arm is based, said it plans to intervene on national security grounds. At the same time, Arm is mired in a legal battle for control of its China unit with the CEO, who was fired by SoftBank but has refused to leave.
Arm designs the processors and architecture used by the vast majority of mobile electronic devices, underpinning Apple Inc.’s in-house M1 chips and Samsung Electronics’ Exynos silicon, among others.
Nvidia is committed to paying Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank $2 billion whether the deal goes through or not. The US chipmaker’s stock has climbed more than 25% since the acquisition was announced last September.
“The regulators are looking for: Is this good for competition? Is this pro-competitive and brings innovation to the market? Does it give customers more choice, does it give customers more offerings and more choice?” he said. “You could see that on the first principle that our companies are completely complementary.”