Nvidia Commits to Buy Arm for $40B

By Todd R. Weiss and George Leopold

September 14, 2020

Nvidia is acquiring semiconductor design company Arm Ltd. for $40 billion from SoftBank in a blockbuster deal that catapults the GPU chipmaker to a dominant position in the datacenter while helping troubled SoftBank reverse its financial woes.

The deal, which has been rumored for more than a month, will bring together Nvidia’s graphics chips and AI computing platform with Arm’s intellectual property for popular computer and mobile chips and technologies in what the companies hope will be a combined ecosystem to lead in the fields of AI and advanced-scale computing.

“Big deals require big commitments,” said analyst Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research. “Nvidia demonstrated that with its Mellanox acquisition and it has done it again with the acquisition of Arm.

Softbank bought Arm only four years ago in July of 2016 in a $32.25 billion all-cash deal, but the Japanese technology investment company has hemorrhaged cash since the first quarter of 2020 and has been looking to sell off assets to raise money. SoftBank’s financial problems arose as earlier bets on the rise of connected devices have failed to pay off. The company’s Vision Fund, it’s AI investment fund, reportedly suffered a $13 billion annual loss in its fiscal year ending in March 2020.

Acquiring Arm solidifies Nvidia’s standing as a major player in wireless and other markets as it makes steady inroads in enterprise datacenters. The GPU leader has released a steady stream of ever-more powerful GPUs targeting machine learning and high-performance computing.

Reports of a pending deal between Nvidia and SoftBank to acquire Arm surfaced in early August. Nvidia moved last year to fully incorporate Arm CPUs into its processing architectures. The chip IP vendor became a more attractive acquisition target after wresting a design win from Intel for Apple devices.

During a conference call Sunday night with analysts and technology journalists, Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of Nvidia, said the acquisition will create the premier computing company for the age of artificial intelligence. The deal brings together Nvidia’s graphics expertise and designs with Arm’s chip IP and designs, along with a partner and developer ecosystem built around both, he said.

The products and IP from both companies is complementary and doesn’t overlap, said Huang, making the deal a smart move for both.

“We will have in one company three incredible platforms,” from Nvidia, Arm and Mellanox, the high-performance networking platform, said Huang. “These three ingredients are the essential components of computing and the opportunity to advance computing across the entire range, from cloud to high performance computing, to PCs, to workstations, to [gaming] console’s to self-driving cars, to robotics and to AI. The amount of computer science horsepower inside this company will be quite extraordinary.”

Anchoring the acquisition is the future of AI, which is built around the need for more computing devices and software that will enable it, said Huang. “It is impossible for one company to build all of those solutions, but it is possible for us to come up with some architectures that every company in the world could benefit from [to use to build those] amazing solutions. And so that’s our mission.”

The acquisition announcement on Sunday night came about after long talks and some massaging of the logistics to reach the deal, Huang said.

“It takes a while to galvanize ideas, and with big ideas like this, timing matters, circumstances matter, the coming together of vision matters,” said Huang. “At some point, it becomes very clear that this is the formation of an extraordinary opportunity.”

Huang confirmed the talks have been ongoing for several months. “This was about creating a company that has the opportunity to address end-to-end, the entire opportunity for the age of AI, [bringing together] the company that is leading the industry in AI computing with … the company that has the most popular CPU in the world with a vast ecosystem of developers and partners.”

Phil Straw, CEO of SoftIron, which provides datacenter appliances based on Arm technology, said he is pleased by the acquisition.

“Nvidia’s aspirations to bolster their GPU-centric offering with Arm will prove to be a real force for innovation in the x86 clone-dominated datacenter landscape,” said Straw. “Nvidia’s acquisition puts a spotlight on Arm technology and its potential to change datacenter architecture that we think is worthy of attention.”

Antitrust issues do loom, however, and industry watchers expect China and European regulations will attempt to slow or derail the deal.

“There will be the naysayers who will whine that the deal is anti-competitive, but why is it any more anti-competitive for Nvidia to have Arm and GPUs than it was for Arm to have CPUs and GPUs or AMD and Intel and Via to have x86 and GPUs?” Peddie said, adding that he expects the deal to eventually pass muster.

“The immediate benefit to both companies is going to be in the GPU,” he added. “Nvidia never could get their power budget down and finally gave up trying. Arm could never get their performance up and finally settled for almost good enough.”

With the marrying of those technologies, “you’re going to see GPUs that will rival, if not exceed Qualcomm on performance [and] power,” the analyst added.

Simon Segars, CEO of Arm, said Arm will remain headquartered in Cambridge, U.K., where improvements and expansions are expected to build a world-class AI research facility to support developments in healthcare, life sciences, robotics, self-driving cars and other fields. In addition, Nvidia will build a state-of-the-art AI supercomputer, powered by Arm CPUs, he said.

“Arm and Nvidia share a vision and passion that ubiquitous, energy-efficient computing will help address the world’s most pressing issues from climate change to healthcare, from agriculture to education,” said Segars. “Delivering on this vision requires new approaches to hardware and software and a long-term commitment to research and development. By bringing together the technical strengths of our two companies we can accelerate our progress and create new solutions that will enable a global ecosystem of innovators.”

Under the terms of the deal, Nvidia will pay SoftBank $21.5 billion in Nvidia common stock and $12 billion in cash, which includes $2 billion payable at signing. Nvidia will also issue $1.5 billion in equity to Arm employees.

The proposed transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of regulatory approvals for the U.K., China, the European Union and the United States. Completion of the transaction is expected to take place in approximately 18 months.

Subscribe to HPCwire's Weekly Update!

Be the most informed person in the room! Stay ahead of the tech trends with industy updates delivered to you every week!

At ISC, Sustainable Computing Leaders Discuss HPC’s Energy Crossroads

May 30, 2023

In the wake of SC22 last year, HPCwire wrote that “the conference’s eyes had shifted to carbon emissions and energy intensity” rather than the historical emphasis on flops-per-watt and power usage effectiveness (PU Read more…

Nvidia Launches Spectrum-X Networking Platform for Generative AI

May 29, 2023

Nvidia launched a new Ethernet-based networking platform – the Nvidia Spectrum-X – that targets generative AI workloads. Based on tight coupling of the Nvidia Spectrum-4 Ethernet switch with the Nvidia BlueField-3 D Read more…

Nvidia Announces Four Supercomputers, with Two in Taiwan

May 29, 2023

At the Computex event in Taipei this week, Nvidia announced four new systems equipped with its Grace- and Hopper-generation hardware, including two in Taiwan. Those two are Taiwania 4, powered by Nvidia’s Grace CPU Sup Read more…

Nvidia Announces New ‘1 Exaflops’ AI Supercomputer; Grace-Hopper in ‘Full Production’

May 28, 2023

We in HPC sometimes roll our eyes at the term “AI supercomputer,” but a new system from Nvidia might live up to the moniker: the DGX GH200 AI supercomputer. Announced tonight (mid-day Monday in Taiwan) at Computex in Read more…

Closing ISC Keynote by Sterling and Suarez Looks Backward and Forward

May 25, 2023

ISC’s closing keynote this year was given jointly by a pair of distinguished HPC leaders, Thomas Sterling of Indiana University and Estela Suarez of Jülich Supercomputing Centre (JSC). Ostensibly, Sterling tackled the Read more…

AWS Solution Channel

Shutterstock 2281634725

Benchmarking the Oxford Nanopore Technologies basecallers on AWS

This blog post was contributed by Guilherme Coppini, Bioinformatician and Javier Quilez, Associate Director – Bioinformatics at G42 Healthcare; and Chris Seymour, Vice President of Advanced Platform Development at Oxford Nanopore; Read more…

 

Shutterstock 1415788655

New Thoughts on Leveraging Cloud for Advanced AI

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming critical to many operations within companies. As the use and sophistication of AI grow, there is a new focus on the infrastructure requirements to produce results fast and efficiently. Read more…

The Grand Challenge of Simulating Nuclear Fusion: An Overview with UKAEA’s Rob Akers

May 25, 2023

As HPC and AI continue to rapidly advance, the alluring vision of nuclear fusion and its endless zero-carbon, low-radioactivity energy is the sparkle in many a futurist’s eye. At an ISC focus session, attendees were Read more…

At ISC, Sustainable Computing Leaders Discuss HPC’s Energy Crossroads

May 30, 2023

In the wake of SC22 last year, HPCwire wrote that “the conference’s eyes had shifted to carbon emissions and energy intensity” rather than the historical Read more…

Nvidia Announces Four Supercomputers, with Two in Taiwan

May 29, 2023

At the Computex event in Taipei this week, Nvidia announced four new systems equipped with its Grace- and Hopper-generation hardware, including two in Taiwan. T Read more…

Nvidia Announces New ‘1 Exaflops’ AI Supercomputer; Grace-Hopper in ‘Full Production’

May 28, 2023

We in HPC sometimes roll our eyes at the term “AI supercomputer,” but a new system from Nvidia might live up to the moniker: the DGX GH200 AI supercomputer. Read more…

Closing ISC Keynote by Sterling and Suarez Looks Backward and Forward

May 25, 2023

ISC’s closing keynote this year was given jointly by a pair of distinguished HPC leaders, Thomas Sterling of Indiana University and Estela Suarez of Jülich S Read more…

The Grand Challenge of Simulating Nuclear Fusion: An Overview with UKAEA’s Rob Akers

May 25, 2023

As HPC and AI continue to rapidly advance, the alluring vision of nuclear fusion and its endless zero-carbon, low-radioactivity energy is the sparkle in many a Read more…

MareNostrum 5 Hits Speed Bumps; Iconic Chapel to Host Quantum Systems

May 23, 2023

MareNostrum 5, the next-generation supercomputer at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) and one of EuroHPC’s flagship pre-exascale systems, has had a di Read more…

ISC Keynote: To Reinvent HPC After Moore’s Law, Follow the Money

May 23, 2023

This year’s International Supercomputing Conference (ISC) kicked off yesterday in Hamburg, Germany, with a keynote from Dan Reed, presidential professor at th Read more…

ISC BOF: Euro Quantum Community Tackles HPC-QC Integration, Broad User Access

May 23, 2023

Europe has clearly jumped into the global race to achieve practical quantum, though perhaps a step later (by a year or two) than the U.S. and China. Impressivel Read more…

CORNELL I-WAY DEMONSTRATION PITS PARASITE AGAINST VICTIM

October 6, 1995

Ithaca, NY --Visitors to this year's Supercomputing '95 (SC'95) conference will witness a life-and-death struggle between parasite and victim, using virtual Read more…

SGI POWERS VIRTUAL OPERATING ROOM USED IN SURGEON TRAINING

October 6, 1995

Surgery simulations to date have largely been created through the development of dedicated applications requiring considerable programming and computer graphi Read more…

U.S. Will Relax Export Restrictions on Supercomputers

October 6, 1995

New York, NY -- U.S. President Bill Clinton has announced that he will definitely relax restrictions on exports of high-performance computers, giving a boost Read more…

Dutch HPC Center Will Have 20 GFlop, 76-Node SP2 Online by 1996

October 6, 1995

Amsterdam, the Netherlands -- SARA, (Stichting Academisch Rekencentrum Amsterdam), Academic Computing Services of Amsterdam recently announced that it has pur Read more…

Cray Delivers J916 Compact Supercomputer to Solvay Chemical

October 6, 1995

Eagan, Minn. -- Cray Research Inc. has delivered a Cray J916 low-cost compact supercomputer and Cray's UniChem client/server computational chemistry software Read more…

NEC Laboratory Reviews First Year of Cooperative Projects

October 6, 1995

Sankt Augustin, Germany -- NEC C&C (Computers and Communication) Research Laboratory at the GMD Technopark has wrapped up its first year of operation. Read more…

Sun and Sybase Say SQL Server 11 Benchmarks at 4544.60 tpmC

October 6, 1995

Mountain View, Calif. -- Sun Microsystems, Inc. and Sybase, Inc. recently announced the first benchmark results for SQL Server 11. The result represents a n Read more…

New Study Says Parallel Processing Market Will Reach $14B in 1999

October 6, 1995

Mountain View, Calif. -- A study by the Palo Alto Management Group (PAMG) indicates the market for parallel processing systems will increase at more than 4 Read more…

Leading Solution Providers

Contributors

CORNELL I-WAY DEMONSTRATION PITS PARASITE AGAINST VICTIM

October 6, 1995

Ithaca, NY --Visitors to this year's Supercomputing '95 (SC'95) conference will witness a life-and-death struggle between parasite and victim, using virtual Read more…

SGI POWERS VIRTUAL OPERATING ROOM USED IN SURGEON TRAINING

October 6, 1995

Surgery simulations to date have largely been created through the development of dedicated applications requiring considerable programming and computer graphi Read more…

U.S. Will Relax Export Restrictions on Supercomputers

October 6, 1995

New York, NY -- U.S. President Bill Clinton has announced that he will definitely relax restrictions on exports of high-performance computers, giving a boost Read more…

Dutch HPC Center Will Have 20 GFlop, 76-Node SP2 Online by 1996

October 6, 1995

Amsterdam, the Netherlands -- SARA, (Stichting Academisch Rekencentrum Amsterdam), Academic Computing Services of Amsterdam recently announced that it has pur Read more…

Cray Delivers J916 Compact Supercomputer to Solvay Chemical

October 6, 1995

Eagan, Minn. -- Cray Research Inc. has delivered a Cray J916 low-cost compact supercomputer and Cray's UniChem client/server computational chemistry software Read more…

NEC Laboratory Reviews First Year of Cooperative Projects

October 6, 1995

Sankt Augustin, Germany -- NEC C&C (Computers and Communication) Research Laboratory at the GMD Technopark has wrapped up its first year of operation. Read more…

Sun and Sybase Say SQL Server 11 Benchmarks at 4544.60 tpmC

October 6, 1995

Mountain View, Calif. -- Sun Microsystems, Inc. and Sybase, Inc. recently announced the first benchmark results for SQL Server 11. The result represents a n Read more…

New Study Says Parallel Processing Market Will Reach $14B in 1999

October 6, 1995

Mountain View, Calif. -- A study by the Palo Alto Management Group (PAMG) indicates the market for parallel processing systems will increase at more than 4 Read more…

ISC 2023 Booth Videos

Cornelis Networks @ ISC23
Dell Technologies @ ISC23
Intel @ ISC23
Lenovo @ ISC23
ISC23 Playlist
  • arrow
  • Click Here for More Headlines
  • arrow
HPCwire