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Nvidia could take on Intel and AMD with ARM purchase, new rumor claims

(Image credit: Nvidia)

In what would be a huge move, Nvidia could buy ARM, at least going by chatter on the takeover grapevine.

According to a report by Bloomberg, Nvidia has made an approach to buy the UK-based chipmaker – news that might worry both Intel and AMD in terms of the CPU market – although it isn’t alone in being interested in acquiring ARM.

The usual inside sources with ‘knowledge of the matter’ claim that Nvidia has made advances, although it’s still far from certain that ARM’s owner, Softbank Group, will even sell.

As we recently heard, SoftBank, the Japanese conglomerate that acquired ARM four years ago at the cost of $32 billion, is looking to raise funds in challenging times, and is considering either selling ARM (either fully, or partially), or going the route of a public stock offering.

If a sale is in the offing – and there’s still no certainty that anything at all will happen, mind, SoftBank is apparently just mulling options at this point – there are other potential buyers apart from Nvidia, as mentioned.

Apple pass

On the face of it, Apple would seem an obvious candidate, given the company’s use of ARM-based chips in its mobile devices, and as we’ve recently seen, MacBooks are switching to use ARM processors as well. Indeed, the Bloomberg report claims that SoftBank has already approached Apple with a view to determining if Tim Cook’s firm would be interested in a purchase.

However, according to inside sources, Apple isn’t tempted, as ARM’s licensing model wouldn’t really fit in well with the way Apple works. Besides, there could be seriously thorny regulatory issues if Apple was to own ARM, too – essentially, there would seem to be a number of roadblocks to this possible outcome.

Other firms are also interested in picking up ARM, the report notes, without mentioning any further names.

Regulatory issues could be a potential barrier to any would-be purchaser in the tech world, including Nvidia, although a buyout from Jensen Huang’s firm doubtless wouldn’t attract quite the same level of antitrust scrutiny as an Apple deal would.