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News broke this week that what would have been the biggest chip deal in history was now officially dead in the water. Cause of death? A sustained and ultimately lethal attack by regulators, with simmering East-West relations cited as a contributing factor.

Japanese multinational SoftBank had planned to sell UK-based Arm to Nvidia, a US chipmaker, for (initially) $40bn. The plan was first announced in September 2020 and was expected to take about 18 months to conclude (which would have taken us to March 2022). According to Reuters, with the sale pegged to Nvidia’s stock price, it may have gone through for almost $80bn late in 2021. Alas, it was not to be at any price. Almost immediately the proposed arrangement set off alarm bells for various competition regulation bodies, and for good reason...

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