US tech giant Nvidia buys Britain’s Arm for $40bn

Linda J. Dodson

The US technology giant Nvidia has confirmed the $40bn (£31bn) takeover of Arm, one of Britain’s biggest tech companies, and promised to invest in the UK amid questions about Arm’s future.

Nvidia and Japan’s SoftBank, which currently owns Arm, announced the deal late on Sunday. It comes four years after Arm, which designs the microchip architecture that features in billions of smartphones and other devices, was bought by Softbank for £24bn.

As part of the deal, Nvidia committed to keeping Arm’s headquarters in Cambridge, and promised to invest further, building an AI research centre and an Arm-based supercomputer in the UK. It said discussions with the Government about gaining approval for the deal had started.

In a note to Arm employees, Nvidia chief executive Jensen Huang said: “Arm’s headquarters will remain in Cambridge and continue to be a cornerstone of the UK technology ecosystem. Nvidia will retain the name and strong brand identity of Arm.” 

Arm’s chip architecture, known for balancing performance with energy efficiency, is the bedrock of most of the world’s smartphones and an increasing number of “internet of things” devices. The company, founded in 1990, has more than 2,500 staff in the UK and to date 180bn chips have been made using its designs.

It was Britain’s biggest publicly-traded technology company before SoftBank bought it in 2016. As part of the deal, SoftBank promised to double Arm’s UK headcount by 2021, a pledge that Nvidia set it would keep. However, the deal is still likely to face scrutiny in the UK.

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