- A cofounder of British chip designer Arm – set to be sold by SoftBank to US chip giant Nvidia for $40 billion – has warned the firm risks becoming a pawn in Donald Trump’s trade war with China if the deal goes ahead.
- The sale has provoked controversy in the UK amid fears Arm could become a pawn in US President Donald Trump’s trade war with China.
- Speaking to Business Insider, Arm cofounder Hermann Hauser warned that Trump ‘doesn’t give a damn about his allies’ and would ‘take the opportunity to screw China’, regardless of its impact on British industry.
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Hermann Hauser, cofounder of chip designer Arm, has warned US President Donald Trump will use the company “to screw China” if its $40 billion sale to Nvidia goes ahead.
SoftBank—which purchased Arm in 2016 for $32 billion— reached an agreement to sell the firm to Nvidia in a cash-and-stock deal earlier this month.
Speaking to Business Insider, Hauser warned Trump would consider the so-called “special relationship” between the US and the UK a “minor issue” compared to the ongoing trade war with China.
“The real danger is that – if this deal goes through – British technology will just become collateral damage in the war between the US and China,” he said.
“Trump doesn’t give a damn about his allies. Britain is a minor issue if he sees an opportunity to screw China.”
The Arm acquisition has been the subject of controversy since it was announced earlier this month, with the Financial Times warning in an editorial that the sale would draw the UK into a “damaging tech war”.
Under the President’s aggressive leadership, the US trade deficit with China recently swelled to its greatest gap since the 2008 financial crisis, according to the US Commerce Department. Tensions between the two countries have heightened in recent months in relation to companies such as Huawei, TikTok, and WeChat.
Warning that Arm could become another pawn in the President’s game with China, Hauser said: “We never dreamed of using our success as some kind of weapon … But then Trump started using the dominance of US companies as a weapon [against China].
“The last thing we should do now is give away our only weapon.”
Hauser’s logic is that Arm, being owned by a US firm, would be subject to scrutiny by CFIUS, the government body whose wide-ranging remit allows it to investigate business deals involving US firms and foreign entities. He argued that CFIUS could have the power to block Arm from doing business with certain firms, especially if they operate in China.
Arm’s CEO, Simon Segars, has played down these concerns saying that because the bulk of the firm’s products are designed outside the US, it won’t be subject to greater CFIUS scrutiny.
Hauser also went on to say the UK government was missing an opportunity to build a $1 trillion tech company.
“I don’t think they’re against interfering, I think they’re just ignorant … Once they realize how important it is to the UK economy, they may step in,” he said.
A spokesperson for Arm declined to comment.
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