Qualcomm to invest in Arm if deal blocked

US chip giant Qualcomm is willing to invest in Cambridge-based chip designer Arm if its controversial takeover by Nvidia is blocked on anti-trust concerns.

Cristiano Amon, who was announced as the new chief executive of Qualcomm in January 2021, told The Telegraph his company would be willing to invest in Arm if the current owner, Japanese conglomerate Softbank, decides to take the company public rather than sell to Nvidia.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) officially opened an investigation in April into the planned $40 billion acquisition of Arm on national security grounds.

Arm, which boasts 6,500 staff worldwide, designs processors which are widely used in consumer electronic devices such as smartphone tablets, but also some desktops and super computers.

The company licenses critical chip designs and software to Apple, Intel, Samsung, Amazon, and Huawei on a neutral basis and is known as the “Switzerland of the industry” due to this approach.

The CMA’s report will cover jurisdictional and competition issues, such as increased prices for consumers and businesses, and any potential national security issues that could arise from the deal.

In February, Bloomberg reported that Google, Microsoft, and Qualcomm were among the companies who complained to US anti-trust regulators about the potential consequences of the merger.

Qualcomm, which has a current market capitalisation of $151.85 billion, is no stranger to antitrust issues. It was fined a record €997 million in 2018 by EU regulators on accusations of using its market position to sell 3G modem chips at predatory prices.

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