UK intervenes in Nvidia’s $40-billion deal to buy Arm

Nvidia Corp. shares fell after the U.K. said it will intervene in the U.S. company’s $40 billion deal for British semiconductor designer Arm Ltd. on national security grounds.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport ordered the country’s antitrust watchdog to investigate the implications of the deal and make a report by midnight on July 30, according to a statement issued on Monday.

Nvidia shares slid 1.8% as the market opened in New York.

The proposed acquisition of the U.K.’s most valuable tech company is already under investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority, which will consider whether Arm might raise prices or hurt licensing services to Nvidia’s rivals.

Arm is currently owned by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. and Nvidia has said it will keep Arm’s headquarters in Cambridge.

“We do not believe that this transaction poses any material national security issues,” a spokesperson for Nvidia said in a statement. “We will continue to work closely with the British authorities, as we have done since the announcement of this deal.”

The DCMS noted that semiconductors are fundamental to a wide range of technologies but also underpin the U.K.’s critical national infrastructure and are found in defense and national security related technologies.

“We want to support our thriving U.K. tech industry and welcome foreign investment, but it is appropriate that we properly consider the national security implications of a transaction like this,” Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said.

Arm’s neutral position as a supplier at the heart of the chipmaking industry has already raised concerns about the deal, because chipmaker Nvidia directly competes with Arm’s customers such as Qualcomm Inc., Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

In the U.S., the deal is under review by the Federal Trade Commission, which has opened an in-depth investigation of the merger and has sent information demands to third parties.

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UK intervenes in Nvidia’s $40-billion deal to buy Arm