The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) recently initiated its pre-approval review on the Nvidia-Arm merger, the biggest M&A deal ever in the global semiconductor industry. With the largest GPU manufacturer in the world aiming to enter the server CPU market, rivals such as Amazon and Microsoft are dead set against it and the KFTC’s conclusion is drawing international attention.
According to the current law, a merger between foreign companies must be approved by the KFTC if the sales of each in South Korea are 30 billion won or more. Samsung Electronics’ Exynos mobile application processor is based on Arm’s instruction set architecture. Nvidia is the largest GPU manufacturer in the world as mentioned above.
The merger is likely to have a substantial impact on South Korean companies. Exynos, which accounts for 13 percent of the global application processor market, is based on Arm’s technology for its GPU as well as CPU. Domestic memory chip companies may have to overhaul their business strategies owing to the changes in the server CPU market to result from the merger.
Nvidia already announced last month that it would release its first server CPU, Grace, based on Arm’s instruction set architecture. “The same reviews are underway in the United States, China and the United Kingdom and it will take at least six months for us to reach our conclusion,” the commission explained.