Nvidia’s proposed $6.9B acquisition of Mellanox gains EU approval

Computer chipmaker Nvidia Corp.’s planned $6.9 billion acquisition of Israeli networking company Mellanox Technologies Ltd. has been granted unconditional approval by the European Union.

The EU’s approval clears a major hurdle and went through without Nvidia having to make any concessions, according to a Dec. 19 regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission by Mellanox. The U.S. had previously cleared the deal too, though approval from China is still pending.

The EU said the proposed acquisition “would raise no competition concerns, because the companies mainly supply complementary products and they will not be able to leverage their respective positions into neighboring markets.”

“The two companies have now received regulatory antitrust approval for the deal from the European Commission and Mexico,” Mellanox said in a filing. “The transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions and the remaining regulatory approval from the Anti-Monopoly Bureau of the State Administration for Market Regulation of the People’s Republic of China.”

The acquisition, which was announced in March and will be Nvidia’s largest ever, is a strategic play by the chipmaker, which was once known primarily for its graphics processing units but has since become a major player in areas such as high performance computing and artificial intelligence.

Mellanox sells specialized “Infiniband” networking equipment that facilitates extremely rapid data transfers. The company also has a strong presence in Ethernet and other networking technologies. It’s believed that Nvidia wants to leverage Mellanox’s technologies in order to boost its presence in the data center and better compete with rivals such as Intel Corp.

“Long-term, I think we have the opportunity to create data center-scale computing architectures; short-term, Mellanox’s footprint in data centers is quite large,” Nvidia Chief Executive Jensen Huang (pictured) said…

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