US tech giant Qualcomm has said it is ready to invest in British chipmaker Arm if a planned $40bn (£28bn) takeover by rival Nvidia is blocked by regulators.
Nvidia last year agreed the bumper takeover deal for Cambridge-based Arm, but the merger is facing a national security review and competition probes in the UK and US.
Qualcomm’s incoming chief executive Cristiano Amon said his company would be prepared to take a stake in Arm alongside other industry players if owner Softbank opted to float it rather than sell to Nvidia.
“If it moves out of Softbank and it goes into a process of becoming a publicly-traded company, [with] a consortium of companies that invest, including many of its customers, I think those are great possibilities,” he told the Telegraph.
“We will definitely be open to it, and we have had discussions with other companies that feel the same way.”
Tesla and Amazon are reportedly among the other companies to express interest in a potential investment.
Nvidia hit back at the comments, saying an initial public offering would hamper Arm’s development.
Chipmaker Qualcomm and other tech firms including Google and Microsoft have raised concerns about Nvidia’s planned takeover of Arm, saying it could harm the British firm’s independence and hamper competition.
MPs have also warned of the risks of selling a major British tech giant to foreign buyers.
Arm, whose chips are used in smartphones and other smart devices, was listed in London until 2016, when it was taken private in a £24bn takeover by Softbank.
Nvidia has pledged to retain Arm’s neutral licensing model and keep the company headquartered in the UK following the deal.
A Nvidia spokesperson said: “To grow and meet the demands of the AI era, Arm needs much more than an IPO. Arm needs an infusion of new technology that it can provide to Arm licensees everywhere, which is why we stepped up and agreed to buy Arm.
“Our technologies and Qualcomm’s are highly complementary – we’d welcome Qualcomm’s help in creating new technologies and products for the entire Arm ecosystem.”