We reported recently that Nvidia was first in line to purchase chip designer ARM, who is on sale by current owner Softbank, reportedly for around $41 billion.
Today KoreaTimes reports that a new contender has appeared, and that Samsung is considering buying a small stake (3-5%) in ARM, as part of a consortium of other related companies.
According to Jim Handy, a U.S.-based seasoned semiconductor analyst for Objective Analysis, ARM will likely be purchased by a consortium comprised of fabless companies or intelligent system design companies such as Rambus, Cadence and Synopsys. He did no think a company such as Nvidia or Apple could successfully purchase ARM due to regulatory concerns.
“Nvidia won’t become the sole suitor for Arm as the company needs to win approvals from fair trade authorities in countries that are doing business with the British company. I think it will be difficult for Nvidia to gain approval from any of those authorities,” he said.
Samsung had earlier taken a similar small 3% stake in SML Holdings, the world’s largest manufacturer of lithography systems, for $642 million.
A purchase by a consortium would also ease concerns by ARM licensees such as Apple and Qualcomm, who would have concerns around unfair competition by Nvidia.