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Graphcore calls for UK regulator to block Nvidia’s Arm takeover

The semiconductor provider has objected to the acquisition in a 'major submission' to the UK's Competition and Markets Authority

Graphcore headquarters

Graphcore has submitted a formal objection to Nvidia’s £32 billion takeover of Arm Holdings, according to a report by CNBC.

Hermann Hauser, who was involved in the development of the first Arm processor, told the publication that the British semiconductor maker has objected to the acquisition in a “major submission” to the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)

Hauser has been a long-time critic of the deal, previously describing it as “an absolute disaster for Cambridge, the UK and Europe”.

The acquisition, which was first confirmed on 14 September 2020, had been met with some backlash over fears Nvidia will move Arm's operations out of Cambridge.

"Nvidia will destroy ARM's business model," Hauser told BBC Radio 4 in September. "The business model of Arm is being the Switzerland of the semiconductor industry, of dealing with over 500 licensees, most of which are competitors of Nvidia." 

Over the weekend, Hauser reignited his accusations that the takeover is anti-competitive, telling CNBC that "if Nvidia can merge the Arm and Nvidia designs in the same software, then that locks out companies like Graphcore from entering the seller market and entering a close relationship with Arm”.

Graphcore has now reportedly escalated its objection to the acquisition to the CMA. Hauser is an investor in Graphcore through his venture capital company Amadeus Capital, which he co-founded in 1997.

IT Pro has contacted Graphcore and the CMA for comment but has yet to receive a response. 

News of Graphcore's submission comes just days after it was revealed that the EU is expected to also launch a competition investigation into the controversial acquisition, with officials and advisors in Brussels saying that it warrants "serious scrutiny".

A number of Nvidia's competitors had reportedly lobbied the UK and EU governments to investigate the deal, with Graphcore being the first business to be specifically named.

The CMA previously said that it would consider the takeover and seek insight and opinions from third-parties up until 26 January. With the deadline gone, the CMA is set to review "whether, following the takeover, Arm has an incentive to withdraw, raise prices or reduce the quality of its IP licensing services to Nvidia's rivals".

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