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Eurobites: EU launches formal investigation into Nvidia-Arm deal

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: Partner bids to buy Xfone; Ericsson fuels 5G in Jakarta; kid's income mushrooms after non-fungible tokens triumph.

  • Following hard on the heels of an equivalent decision by the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the European Commission has signaled that it is likely to launch a formal investigation into Nvidia's planned takeover of UK-based chip design company Arm. According to a report in the Financial Times (paywall may apply), the antitrust probe is likely to begin next month, after Nvidia formally notifies Brussels of its intention to acquire Arm from current owner SoftBank. Earlier this month the CMA indicated that an in-depth investigation into the deal would be necessary because the proposed transaction "raises serious competition concerns." (See UK watchdog flexes muscles over Nvidia's Arm deal and UK scrutiny chips away at Nvidia's $40B Arm buy.)

  • Israel's second-largest mobile operator, Partner, has put in a bid to buy smaller rival Marathon 018 Xfone for 187 million shekels (US$58.1 million), Yahoo Finance reports. Partner's bid for Xfone follows that of Golan Telecom, a unit of Cellcom, Israel's largest mobile operator. Partner said it would offer at least 70% of Xfone's current employees continued employment for at least a year from the date the deal goes through.

  • Ericsson has been chosen to power Indosat Ooredoo's 5G network in Jakarta as part of the city's vision for a complete digital overhaul that will see the word "smart" applied to just about everything. The Swedish vendor's Radio System products and services will be front and center of the project.

  • Sparkle, the international services arm of Telecom Italia (TIM), has formed a joint venture with Trans Ocean Network of Panama for the construction of an open landing and connectivity center that the two companies hope will be a digital hub for all of Central America, the Andean region and the Caribbean. Located in Panama City, the new building will offer 3,200 square meters of colocation space for over 600 racks and 5 MW of power.

  • Virgin Media O2 says it is deploying "network boosts" at 15 major UK music festivals this summer, the Reading Festival among them – assuming they all go ahead as planned, of course. The Boardmasters music and surfing festival, held earlier this month in Cornwall, was estimated to have given rise to around 4,700 cases of COVID-19 and landed the Newquay area with one of the highest infection rates in the UK.

  • Looking for ways to supplement your meager telecom-related earnings? Fancy a new pair of AirPods but haven't had any luck on the lottery recently? Here's some possible inspiration to draw on over the weekend: As the BBC reports, a 12-year-old boy from London, Benyamin Ahmed, has made around £290,000 during the school summer break after creating a series of pixelated artworks called Weird Whales and selling them as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The lad is keeping his earnings, of course, not in a boring old bank account but in the form of Ethereum – the cryptocurrency in which they were sold. All very laudable, but really… someone needs to buy the kid a skateboard.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

    Eurobites returns on Tuesday, August 13, after a short interlude to celebrate the UK banking system.

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