Nvidia in Advanced Talks to Buy SoftBank’s Chip Company Arm

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Nvidia Corp. is in advanced talks to acquire Arm Ltd., the chip designer that SoftBank Group Corp. bought for $32 billion four years ago, according to people familiar with the matter.

The two parties aim to reach a deal in the next few weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Nvidia is the only suitor in concrete discussions with SoftBank, according to the people.

A deal for Arm could be the largest ever in the semiconductor industry, which has been consolidating in recent years as companies seek to diversify and add scale. But any deal with Nvidia, which is a customer of Arm, would likely trigger regulatory scrutiny as well as a wave of opposition from other users.

Cambridge, England-based Arm’s technology underpins chips that are crucial to most modern electronics, including those that dominate the smartphone market, an area in which Nvidia has failed to gain a foothold. Customers including Apple Inc., Qualcomm Inc., Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Intel Corp., could demand assurances that a new owner would continue providing equal access to Arm’s instruction set. Such concerns resulted in SoftBank, a neutral company, buying Arm the last time it was for sale.

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