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Activision Blizzard Hires Senior Executives from Disney and Delta

Activision Blizzard, Inc. today announced the hiring of two senior executives to help the company build a more inclusive workplace as well as diversify and grow its revenue. Julie Hodges, Senior Vice President, Corporate HR and Compensation, Benefits and Talent Acquisition at The Walt Disney Company, will become Chief People Officer, effective September 21. Sandeep Dube, Senior Vice President, Revenue Management at Delta Airlines, will become Chief Commercial Officer, effective September 27.

"These two outstanding leaders from companies with exceptional reputations will help us achieve our goal of becoming the best company to work for in the entertainment industry while growing our reach, engagement and player investment," said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. Ms. Hodges brings more than three decades of global human resources experience in entertainment and an impeccable record of shaping corporate culture. She will be responsible for the company's global talent organization, making Activision Blizzard the destination for top talent. In her role, she will lead all aspects of human resources, including diversity, equity and inclusion, talent acquisition, employee experience, learning and development, compensation and benefits and workforce planning.

NVIDIA-Arm Acquisition Raises "Significant Competition Concerns:" UK Competition Regulator

The proposed $40 billion acquisition of Arm Holdings Plc from SoftBank by NVIDIA raises "significant competition concerns," says the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA). The scathing report by the UK's competition regulator goes on to say that the merger will stifle innovation. "We're concerned that NVIDIA controlling Arm could create real problems for NVIDIA's rivals by limiting their access to key technologies, and ultimately stifling innovation across a number of important and growing markets. This could end up with consumers missing out on new products, or prices going up," it reads.

In its first reaction, NVIDIA sought time to address CMA's concerns. "We look forward to the opportunity to address the CMA's initial views and resolve any concerns the Government may have. We remain confident that this transaction will be beneficial to Arm, its licensees, competition, and the UK," the company said. Although a subsidiary of Japan's Softbank, the report by UK's competition regulator does have some bearing on the fate of Arm, which remains headquartered in the UK.

NVIDIA-ARM Acquisition Facing Delays, Still Pending Regulatory Approvals

The NVIDIA acquisition of ARM from the clutches of Softbank (for a cool, $40 billion) is increasingly looking stretched towards the future. When the acquisition deal was first announced back in September 14th, 2020, NVIDIA announced it expected the business to be closed within an 18-month timeframe, which would place it towards March 2022. However, that objective may prove to have been set too aggressively; we're now in July, and NVIDIA still hasn't received any sort of regulatory approval towards its embattled, and mostly negatively received, plans for the acquisition of ARM.

Particularly here is NVIDIA's submission of the acquisition deal towards the European Commission - which still hasn't happened. Seeking regulatory approval on acquisitions usually is a bureaucratic minefield; even more so when we're talking about tech industry giants such as NVIDIA and ARM and the possibility of market monopolization. It's expected that any regulatory appraisal of the acquisition will take upwards of six months, considering the scope, scale, and legal hurdles involved, and with the European Commission's summer holidays starting today, NVIDIA will now only be able to submit acquisition documentation come September. That gives the European Commission only six months to evaluate an acquisition of this magnitude if NVIDIA were to complete the deal in its announced timeframe; regulators, however, usually aren't too interested in bending over backwards to accelerate timeframes just because of a company's interest, even if that company is NVIDIA. Should the acquisition go wayside or be delayed far too long for ARM's interests, the company is expected to opt for an IPO so as to raise investment.

Sony Interactive Entertainment Completes Acquisition of Nixxes

Sony Interactive Entertainment ("SIE") announced today that SIE has completed the acquisition of Nixxes Software B.V. ("Nixxes"), an industry-leading Dutch studio with more than 20 years of experience in game development and optimization. Based in Utrecht, Netherlands, effective immediately, Nixxes will join PlayStation Studios Technology, Creative & Services Group to provide high quality in-house technical and development capabilities for PlayStation Studios.

"I highly respect Nixxes and am excited for this very experienced team to become part of the world-class development community at SIE," said Hermen Hulst, Head of PlayStation Studios. "They have a passion for improving games and for delivering the best possible experience for gamers. Nixxes will be a strong asset for everyone across PlayStation Studios, helping our teams focus on their most important goal, which is to create unique PlayStation content at the best possible quality."

UK Competition Regulator Greenlights AMD's Xilinx Acquisition

AMD's ambitious acquisition of Xilinx, makers of cutting-edge FPGAs, has been approved by the UK Competition and Markets Authority. This would go down as AMD's biggest tech acquisition, as the company is forking out USD $35 billion in stock. If it goes through, the AMD-Xilinix combine will see current AMD shareholders own 74% of the company, and current Xilinx shareholders with the other 26%. Both companies announced in April 2021 that their shareholders "overwhelmingly" approved of the deal. The Xilinx buyout by AMD isn't too far behind in terms of value, to NVIDIA's ambitious $40 billion bid to acquire Arm Holdings.
Many Thanks to DeathtoGnomes for the tip

Discord Exits Acquisition Talks with Microsoft, Will Remain Independent Company

Discord has reportedly ended acquisition talks with Microsoft after they rejected a 12 billion USD bid according to people familiar with the matter. Microsoft was not the only company interested in buying Discord, other interested parties included Twitter and some valuations but the company at 15 - 18 billion USD. Discord raised 100 million USD in its latest private funding round with a valuation of 7 billion USD from Greenoaks Capital and Index Ventures. Discord is now focused on increasing revenue from its 140 million users which sat at 130 million USD in 2020. The company is also preparing for an initial public offering sometime in the future.

UK Stalls NVIDIA's Acquisition of Arm to Investigate "National Security Concerns"

The UK government has stalled NVIDIA's $40 billion acquisition of Arm by constituting an investigation in "public interest." This investigation will look into the national security implications to the UK, of the acquisition. Although Arm is being transacted between Japan's SoftBank Holdings and American NVIDIA, Arm itself is a UK-based entity. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will lead the investigation, and file a report with the UK government by June 30, 2021.

NVIDIA responded to the development, stating that the acquisition has no material national-security issues affecting the UK. "We will continue to work closely with the British authorities, as we have done since the announcement of this deal," NVIDIA stated. Leading tech firms, namely Google, Qualcomm, and Microsoft, etc., voiced apprehensions over the deal. Unlike SoftBank, NVIDIA is a chip-designer in its own right, and could withhold cutting-edge Arm technology to itself, giving its CPUs/SoCs a competitive edge over other Arm licensees, these firms believe.

AMD and Xilinx Stockholders Overwhelmingly Approve AMD's Acquisition of Xilinx

AMD (NASDAQ:AMD) and Xilinx, Inc. (NASDAQ:XLNX) announced today that stockholders voted to approve their respective proposals relating to the pending acquisition of Xilinx by AMD. The acquisition will bring together two industry leaders with complementary product portfolios and customers, combining CPUs, GPUs, FPGAs, Adaptive SoCs and deep software expertise to enable leadership in computing platforms for cloud, edge and end devices. Together, the combined company will have the ability to capitalize on opportunities spanning some of the industry's most important growth segments, including data centers, gaming, PCs, communications, automotive, industrial, aerospace and defense.

"For several years, AMD has successfully executed our long-term growth strategy and deepened the company's partnerships to drive high performance computing leadership," said Dr. Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO. "The acquisition of Xilinx marks the next leg in our journey to make AMD the strategic partner of choice for the largest and most important technology companies in the world as an industry leader with the vision, talent and scale to support their future innovation."

NVIDIA Faces Challenges: Qualcomm, Google, and Microsoft Protest Arm Acquisition

In September of last year, NVIDIA has officially announced that the current industry rumor about its big acquisition was true. The company has announced that it is acquiring Arm Limited from the Softbank Group. Paying as much as $40 billion for the purchase, NVIDIA is gaining access to the complete company, along with its extensive portfolio of IP and knowledge. That means that NVIDIA is not essentially a holder of the Arm ISA, which is the most dominant ISA within mobile processors. Such a deal, however, is a bit hard to process without some troubles popping up along the way. As Arm held a neutral position as IP provider, NVIDIA is expected to remain as such, and the company even promised to stay true to that.

However, not everything is going as planned. Before completing the acquisition process, NVIDIA must first comply with regulators from all around the world, including the US, UK, EU, and China. If any objections raise within those regions, they are to be interrogated. Today, Google, Microsoft, and Qualcomm have objected that NVIDIA's Arm acquisition is hurting the market and are urging antitrust officials to intervene. Mentioned companies believe that NVIDIA's move is hurting the market and the company could limit its competitors from accessing the IP, thus breaking Arm's neutral position as an IP provider. NVIDIA has made statements that Arm will remain in such a position, however, the skepticism of the mentioned companies is slowing the merger. Now all that remains is to see how the conflicted companies solve their worries.

NVIDIA Acquisition of Arm to be Investigated by UK Regulator

NVIDIA's planned acquisition of Arm was one of 2020's defining moments for the tech industry, and many articles have already been written on the possible industry-wide consequences of this acquisition. However, the resulting NVIDIA company could raise some questions as to business practices and competition - critics, technologists, and lobbyists have already been working hard in calling the deal's attention to regulating authorities. And that seems to be paying off, as UK's Competition and Markets Authority announced Wednesday that it plans to investigate NVIDIA's proposed acquisition of British chip designer Arm.

This effort by the CMA will take place in a staggered way, where the regulator is for now asking for third party input on the deal and its consequences for British competition and the tech industry at large, before launching its official probe later this year. As is always the case with these sort of deals, some in the field expect the deal to be blocked, including Arm co-founder Hermann Hauser; others, however, speak to its eventual success. NVIDIA's share price has kept dropping ever since the announcement, from a high of $536.31 to $506.21 at time of writing.

Microsoft Announces Acquisition of Bethesda Parent Company ZeniMax Media

Microsoft today dropped a giant bomb on the balance of game development: the company announced the acquisition of ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks, and all its related IP. The purchase, which is expected to close for a tidy $7.5 billion, will carry over all ZeniMax Media subsidiaries. This includes Bethesda (The Elder Scrolls, Fallout), id Software (DOOM), Arkane Studios (Prey, Dishonored, upcoming Deathloop), MachineGames (Wolfenstein), among others.

The deal is the costliest acquisition for Microsoft (to date) in its push to increase the number of in-house development studios (up to 23 from 15 prior to this deal). Microsoft has announced that as part of the deal, games published by ZeniMax Media and subsidiaries (and in the future, by Microsoft) will be available on its Xbox Games Pass subscription service for Xbox and PC gaming. Microsoft is acquiring some of the most iconic gaming franchises ever with this deal, including all in-development IP. It's a huge boon for the company; it remains to be seen exactly how will this evolve over the years. But one thing is for certain: Microsoft isn't slowing down on its doubling down on game development.

NVIDIA Might Close the Deal of Arm Acquisition Before Summer Ends

Last time we have reported that the situation with NVIDIA taking over Arm is getting serious, and it was reported that their talks were getting quite advanced. Today, we are getting new information regarding this, from the sources of Evening Standard. According to their information, the deal is supposed to be done by the time summer ends. That puts the timing of the deal very close to the present, so we could expect to see more details very soon. The venture is worth a lot, as Softbank is asking as much as 40 billion GBP, which is around 52.62 billion USD. It also goes to show just how much Arm Ltd. has grown in value from the 31 billion USD number Softbank paid in 2016 to acquire it.

Embracer Group Acquires Metro Exodus Developer 4A Games, Other Developers

Embracer Group, parent company of THQ Nordic, has been on a roll of IP and developer embracings in the past years, and has now added quite the independent heavyweight to its belt. 4A Games, best known for the Metro games franchise, has been acquired by the group. 4A Games will undoubtedly continue work on another installment of the Metro franchise, which has the original author of the novels the games are based on, Dmitry Glukhovsky, attached to the project as writer. In addition to 4A Games, Embracer Group has also acquired DECA Games, New World Interactive, Palindrome Interactive, Pow Wow Entertainment, Sola Media, Rare Earth Games, and Vermila Studios.
"With the acquisition of 4A Games, Saber Interactive is locking-up one of the best indie studios in the industry with the potential and capacity to take on another AAA project and are also internalizing the value of existing and future IPs into the Group. Saber solidifies its position as a leader in the CIS and Ukrainian game developer market. Combining our technology and capabilities with 4A Games presents tremendous opportunity for growth and expansion."

Matt Karch, CEO Saber Interactive and Director of the Embracer Board

Kioxia to Complete Acquisition of LITE-ON Technology's SSD Business

Kioxia Holdings Corporation, the world leader in memory solutions, announced today that it expects to complete its acquisition of LITE-ON Technology Corporation's Solid State Drive (SSD) business, Solid State Storage Technology Corporation and its affiliated companies on July 1, 2020. The company entered into a share purchase agreement on August 30, 2019 in connection with the acquisition. Both parties are now following the necessary procedures in order to close the transaction on July 1, 2020.

As the demand for SSDs continues to increase with rapid expansion expected in the coming years with the rise of digital transformation, this acquisition will allow Kioxia to strengthen its SSD business significantly and help meet the projected growth in demand.

NVIDIA Completes Acquisition of Mellanox

NVIDIA today announced the completion of its acquisition of Mellanox Technologies, Ltd., for a transaction value of $7 billion. The acquisition, initially announced on March 11, 2019, unites two of the world's leading companies in high performance and data center computing. Combining NVIDIA's leading computing expertise with Mellanox's high-performance networking technology, the move will enable customers to achieve higher performance, greater utilization of computing resources and lower operating costs.

"The expanding use of AI and data science is reshaping computing and data center architectures," said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of NVIDIA. "With Mellanox, the new NVIDIA has end-to-end technologies from AI computing to networking, full-stack offerings from processors to software, and significant scale to advance next-generation data centers. Our combined expertise, supported by a rich ecosystem of partners, will meet the challenge of surging global demand for consumer internet services, and the application of AI and accelerated data science from cloud to edge to robotics."
NVIDIA finishes acquiring Mellanox

NVIDIA Receives Approval to Proceed with Mellanox Acquisition from China's Antitrust Authority

NVIDIA today announced that it has received approval from all necessary authorities to proceed with its planned acquisition of Mellanox, as announced in March 2019. The latest approval by China's State Administration for Market Regulation follows antitrust approval from the European Commission and Mexico and the expiration of the waiting period under U.S. antitrust laws. With the exception of the remaining customary closing conditions, all conditions to the deal's closing have been satisfied.

NVIDIA announced on March 11, 2019, its intention to acquire Israel-based Mellanox for $125 per share in cash, or $6.9 billion, in a transaction that would combine NVIDIA's leading computing expertise with Mellanox's high-performance interconnect technology. The acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive to NVIDIA's non-GAAP gross margin, non-GAAP EPS and free cash flow. Closing is expected to occur on or about April 27, 2020.

SteelSeries Acquires Nahimic Maker & Audio Software Leader A-Volute

SteelSeries, the leader in gaming and esports peripherals, today announces its acquisition of A-Volute, the leading independent developer of 3D sound solutions for gaming, including its flagship Nahimic software. The acquisition of A-Volute will continue to bolster SteelSeries' reputation of industry-leading gaming audio performance across both hardware and software.

For nearly two decades, SteelSeries has been a frontrunner in the gaming industry, offering high-quality gaming peripherals to pro and enthusiast gamers. Its SteelSeries Engine software platform has millions of daily users and is integrated with games and applications. Over the years, the company has built a strong brand and has leveraged this to outpace category growth globally. The award-winning Arctis line of gaming headsets redefined the category as is the new standard in excellence in gaming audio hardware.

Intel in Negotiations for Habana Labs Acquisition

Intel is currently performing negotiations to acquire Israeli AI chip startup, Habana Labs, according to a person who spoke to Calcalist anonymously. If the deal realizes, Intel will pay between one and two billion USD, making it Intel's second-largest acquisition of an Israeli company. When asked about the potential deal, the Intel spokesperson has stated that the company will not respond to rumors surrounding it, while Habana Labs has yet to respond to a request for comment made by Calcalist.

Founded in 2016 by Israeli entrepreneur Avigdor Willenz, who founded Galileo Technologies and Annapurna Labs, Habana Labs develops processors for training and inference of Machine Learning models. This acquisition would allow Intel to compete better in the AI processor market and get new customers which were previously exclusive to Habana Labs.

HP Rejects Acquisition Offer from Xerox

On Sunday, HP Inc. released a letter from its board of directors stating that it rejects acquisition offer from Xerox Corporation pointing out that: "We have great confidence in our strategy and our ability to execute to continue driving sustainable long-term value at HP. In addition, the Board and management team continue to take actions to enhance shareholder value including the deployment of our strong balance sheet for increased repurchases of our significantly undervalued stock and for value-creating M&A."

This decision shows a strong will from the folks over at HP to continue their business in the way they usually done for many years. Additionally, HP stated the following: "We recognize the potential benefits of consolidation, and we are open to exploring whether there is value to be created for HP shareholders through a potential combination with Xerox. However, as we have previously shared in connection with our prior requests for diligence, we have fundamental questions that need to be addressed in our diligence of Xerox. We note the decline of Xerox's revenue from $10.2 billion to $9.2 billion (on a trailing 12-month basis) since June 2018, which raises significant questions for us regarding the trajectory of your business and future prospects.", showing the downsides of the potential merger and questioning abilities of Xerox to manage two companies.

Micron Announces Acquisition of Remaining Interest in IM Flash Technologies Joint Venture, Intel Out of Partnership

The Intel-Micron partnership pertaining to memory technologies is drawing to a close, with Micron today announcing they'd be acquiring remaining interest in IM Flash Technologies. IM Flash Technologies is the literal embodiment of the Intel-Micron partnership, and Micron acquiring the entire stake of it means that Intel is left out of any investment/development of 3D XPoint memory.

Micron expects to pay approximately $1.5 billion in cash for the transaction, dissolving Intel's non-controlling interest in IM Flash, and the two companies will independently drive their own future technology roadmaps. Based on prior agreements, Micron will sell 3D XPoint memory wafers to Intel for up to a year after close.

THQ Nordic Announces Acquisition of IP to "Alone in the Dark", "Act of War" Franchises

THQ Nordic today announced they had acquired rights to two different IPs from Atari Europe SAS. The agreement extends to both the Alone in the Dark and Act of War franchises - of which the first is the most well-known.

Alone in the Dark, with its survival horror archetype, saw early instalments of the series based on the writings of master horror storyteller H. P. Lovecraft. Later entries in the series drew inspiration from other sources including voodoo, the Wild West, and the works of H. R. Giger. Act of War, though, is a different beast: a story-driven, real-time strategy game developed by Eugen Systems that featured a fine-grained story penned by NYT bestselling author Dale Brown. Daily operations in the two newly-acquired franchises (sales and distribution, evaluation of sequels & new content etc.) will be done via THQ Nordic GmbH in Vienna, Austria. Here's hoping this eventually leads to a new lease of life for these currently estranged franchises (and the real time strategy genre in itself).

Qualcomm Comes Around to Broadcom Acquisition, Wants the Price to be Right

The Broadcom-Qualcomm acquisition saga continues, but with an encouraging development for the potential buyer. Qualcomm is reportedly coming around to the idea of acquisition by Broadcom, if the price is right. Broadcom's last offer stood at a staggering $121 billion, or $79 per share (which once touched $82 per share). Qualcomm's board is of the opinion that the current offer "severely undervalues" the company, without further guidance on what would constitute a fair price.

"Broadcom reiterated in the February 23 meeting that its reduced $79.00 per share proposal is its best and final proposal. The Qualcomm Board is unanimous in its view that each of Broadcom's proposals, including its prior $82.00 per share proposal, materially undervalues Qualcomm, and the Board encourages Broadcom to enter into mutual due diligence and price negotiations," Qualcomm stated in a press-release.

EPIC games Acquires Cloudgine, Welcomes It to Its Fold

EPIC Games has made an investment that was both likely and unlikely: the acquisition of Cloudgine, a software company based in Edinburgh, Scotland, that specializes in real-time cloud computing technologies. The company's name has appeared associated with Microsoft's now almost infamous Crackdown 3 project for the Xbox One console, which has been met with delays after delays. The sum for the acquisition hasn't been announced, though EPIC was forthcoming with the intention: they aim to integrate Cloudgine's software and cloud computing solutions on their Unreal engine. The full EPIC press release follows.

EA Acquires Titanfall, Titanfall 2 Developer Respawn Entertainment for $455M

Publisher EA has just announced that they are acquiring Titanfall and Titanfall 2 development studio Respawn Entertainment. The deal, which includes cash, equity, and performance milestone payments valued at $455M, will add one more studio to the publisher's wing, just weeks after EA announced the shuttering of Visceral Studios and the end of its single-player, linear, story-driven Star Wars game. EA fought for this acquisition, outbidding South Korean publisher Nexon, who also had their eyes on Respawn.

"We've had success as an independent company but as we look to how we want to compete in the future, and the challenges that face us in a rapidly changing landscape, now is the time for us to combine forces with a global industry leader like EA," said Vince Zampella, Respawn Entertainment's CEO in a blog post on Respawn's website. "EA will provide us with more resources, access to new technologies, and expertise that we can tap into to that will help us make better games, and Respawn will retain the same creative freedom and culture we've always had," he added. "We've been talking closely with the leadership at EA and we share their values and vision for the future of being a developer-focused company that puts the players first."

SoftBank Strikes Again: Purchases Robot Company Extraordinaire Boston Dynamics

SoftBank has to be the most high-level investor in the tech world today, with multiple headline-grabbing purchases in the last year alone. First, it was ARM's multi-billion dollar purchase, which shook the tech industry almost to its knees. Then, the acquisition of a $4 billion dollar stake on NVIDIA, which is increasingly looking like a great move (and is partially responsible for NVIDIA's soaring market cap.)

Now, SoftBank has moved to acquire Google parent company Alphabet Inc's Boston Dynamics, the engineering and robotics design firm best known for being compared to the manufacturing arm of Skynet. Masayoshi Son, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank Group Corp., said that "Smart robotics are going to be a key driver of the next stage of the Information Revolution," and that he and the full might of SoftBank are looking forward to "supporting them as they continue to advance the field of robotics and explore applications that can help make life easier, safer and more fulfilling." Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but as part of it, SoftBank has also agreed to acquire Japanese bipedal robotics company Schaft. SoftBank is the octopus of the tech world, with tendrils extending towards the technologies that look to be most important in our collective future. The company already has the high efficiency processing, deep learning and AI chops for a robotic future with their acquisition of ARM and investment in NVIDIA - now, they're adding a manufacturing arm. Is this Skynet's inception?
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