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Nvidia’s $40-billion deal for Arm faces UK national-security probe
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LONDON — The U.K. government is starting a national-security review of Nvidia Corp.’s $40 billion deal to buy British chip designer Arm from SoftBank Group Corp. , raising a new hurdle for an industry-reshaping proposal facing significant regulatory scrutiny around the world.
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U.K. Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden on Monday invoked a little-used power to order the country’s antitrust agency to investigate the merger’s national-security implications and deliver a report by July 30. The secretary can eventually clear the deal, with or without conditions, or nix it.
The national-security review comes on top of the agency’s previously announced plans to investigate the deal on antitrust grounds.
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The U.K. probe is the latest example of how governments around the world are increasingly tightening control over semiconductor technology, after the past year demonstrated how access to advanced microprocessors can make or break some of their biggest companies.
U.S. export controls on chip technology have jeopardized the ability of China’s Huawei Technologies Co., which was briefly the world’s top smartphone maker, to buy supplies it needs to keep making devices. A global semiconductor shortage, meanwhile, has idled assembly lines at General Motors Co. and other auto makers because today’s vehicles require so many chips.