就在英伟达于上周日官宣,同意以高达400亿美元的交易金额收购软银旗下的芯片设计巨头ARM之后,这个世界芯片领域史上最大规模的一笔交易已经招致了反对声音。

ARM联合创始人Hermann Hauser 9月14日周一接受媒体采访时表示,如果美国公司英伟达收购ARM,那么这笔交易对于剑桥、英国乃至欧洲都是一个完完全全的灾难,对于整个行业也将是个灾难性事件。

一方面,收购完成后ARM在英国的就业机会可能会消失。

Hauser表示,如果英伟达“不可避免地”决定将ARM总部迁至美国,那么这意味着在英国剑桥、曼彻斯特、贝尔法斯特、华威的数千名ARM员工可能会失去工作。

英伟达在周日的声明中曾表示,收购后ARM将保留在剑桥的总部,并且将在英国创造更多工作机会。但是对于这种说法,Hauser并不认为有什么说服力,他认为除非这些承诺具有与法律效力,否则毫无意义。

另一方面,英伟达将摧毁ARM的商业模式。

ARM的总部位于英国剑桥,被认为是英国科技行业皇冠上的明珠,它的芯片在全球大多数的智能手机及其他设备中十分普及。

Hauser表示,ARM的商业模式涉及芯片设计授权给其他约500家公司,其中就包括那些与英伟达直接形成竞争关系的公司,这意味着这份收购协议将造成行业垄断。

更为重要的是,这是国家经济主权的问题。如果ARM成为一家美国公司,那么将受到美国外国投资委员会(CFIUS)的监管。因此他敦促英国政府介入,阻止该交易,并帮助ARM在伦敦证券交易所上市。

为了更明确地阐述自己的想法,Hermann Hauser还向英国首相约翰逊写了一封公开信并发布在savearm(救救ARM)网站上。

信中,他解释了出售ARM在工作机会、商业模式以及国家经济主权三方面的问题,并表示只有满足三个有法律保障的条件才能完成这笔交易,包括保障英国的工作、英伟达不得享有比其他Arm客户更优惠的待遇。以及英国必须获得美国OFAC监管的豁免。

以下为公开信全文(中文及英文原文)

尊敬的首相,

作为arm的创始人之一,我(指代本文作者Hermann Hauser)非常关注Arm出售给英伟达这个交易,而这封信则是我在剑桥的同事和英国的金融和电子产业的人共同签署的。

首先,我们担心成千上万名Arm员工在剑桥的工作受到影响。当总部迁往美国时,这将不可避免地导致英国失去工作机会和影响力,正如卡夫(Kraft)当初收购吉百利(Cadbury)时所看到的那样。

其次,将Arm出售给Nvidia将破坏Arm的商业模式的根本,该模式原本可以被称为半导体行业的“瑞士”,与500多家被许可人以平等的方式交易。他们大多数是Nvidia的竞争对手,当中有不少英国公司。

第三,也是最重要的,那就是从长远来看,这是国家经济主权的问题。

Arm是英国仅存的领先技术公司,Arm在手机微处理器方面占据主导地位。它的市场份额超过95%。英国受到谷歌,Facebook,亚马逊,Netflix,苹果等公司在美国技术领域的统治。由于美国总统在与中国的贸易战将技术优势“武器化”,因此除非英国拥有自己的讨价还价武器,否则英国将成为附带受害者。Arm为苹果,三星,索尼,华为以及几乎世界上所有其他品牌的智能手机提供动力,因此可以对他们施加影响。

将Arm出售给Nvidia意味着,Arm将受到美国CFIUS法规的约束。英国电子行业有数百家公司,雇用数以万计的人在其产品中使用ARM。其中许多产品出口到包括中国在内的全球主要市场,那就意味着他们都必须遵守美国CFIUS法规。

这使英国处于令人难以置信的立场,即关于允许Arm出售给谁的决定权将在白宫而不是唐宁街。主权曾经主要是一个地理问题,但是现在经济主权同样重要。将英国最强大的贸易武器交还给美国正在使英国成为美国的附庸国。

为此我们认为,必须满足以下三个条件才能完成这笔交易。且它们都必须具有法律约束力,否则将无用:

1、剑桥的工作保障。

2、Nvidia不得享有比其他Arm客户更优惠的待遇。

3、英国必须获得美国CFIUS法规的豁免,以确保英国公司不受限制地使用我们自己的微处理器技术。

出售给Nvidia的Arm的自然选择是将Arm在伦敦证券交易所公开上市,并再次使其成为英国拥有的公司,并拥有黄金股以保障国家经济安全。由于您已经花了5亿英镑帮助OneWeb走出第11章,对于英国来说,这并不像Arm那么重要,因此您可以花12亿英镑作为主要投资者在伦敦证券交易所进行IPO。首次公开募股一直是软银宣布获得流动性资金的途径。

如果您不为国家利益而进行此项交易,历史将不记你是将英国带出欧洲的人,而是记住你是那个将英国变成美国附庸国的人。

英文全文:

Dear Prime Minister,

As one of the founders of Arm I am extremely concerned about the proposed sale of Arm to Nvidia. This concern is shared by many of my colleagues in Cambridge, the UK financial and electronics industry who are all co-signing this letter.

Firstly, we are concerned about the impact on jobs in Cambridge, Manchester, Belfast, Glasgow, Sheffield and Warwick where thousands of Arm employees work. When the headquarters move to the US this will inevitably lead to the loss of jobs and influence in the UK as we have seen with the Cadbury takeover by Kraft.

Secondly, the sale of Arm to Nvidia will destroy the very basis of Arm’s business model which is to be the Switzerland of the semiconductor industry dealing in an even-handed way with its over 500 licensees. Most of them are Nvidia’s competitors. Among them are many UK companies. Assurances to the contrary should be legally binding.

Thirdly, and most importantly for the long term, it is an issue of national economic sovereignty:

Arm is the only remaining UK technology company, with a dominant position in mobile phone microprocessors. It has a market share of over 95%. The UK has suffered from American technology dominance by companies like Google, Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Apple and others. As the American president has weaponised technology dominance in his trade war with China, the UK will become collateral damage unless it has its own trade weapons to bargain with. Arm powers the smartphones of Apple, Samsung, Sony, Huawei and practically every other brand in the world and therefore can exert influence on all of them.

A sale to Nvidia will mean that Arm becomes subject to the US OFAC regulations. There are hundreds of companies in the UK electronics industry employing tens of thousands of people who use ARMs in their products. Many of them export to major global markets including China. They will all have to comply with the US OFAC regulations.

This puts Britain in the invidious position that the decision about who Arm is allowed to sell to will be made in the White House and not in Downing Street.

Sovereignty used to be mainly a geographic issue, but now economic sovereignty is equally important. Surrendering UK’s most powerful trade weapon to the US is making Britain a US vassal state.

There are three conditions that are imperative for this deal to be allowed to go through.

They all have to be legally binding or they are useless:

  1. Legally binding job guarantees for Arm employees in the UK
  2. Legally binding agreement that Nvidia must not gain any preferential treatment over other Arm licensees.
  3. Britain must get an exemption from the US OFAC regulation so that UK companies are guaranteed unfettered access to our own microprocessor technology.

The natural alternative to an Arm sale to Nvidia is to take Arm public on the London Stock Exchange and make it a British owned company again with a Golden Share for national economic security. As you have spent £500m to help OneWeb out of Chapter 11, which arguably is not as important to Britain as Arm, you could spend £1-2bn as the anchor investor for an IPO on the London Stock Exchange and get a Golden Share for it so that this problem cannot happen again. An IPO was always the declared route to liquidity for Softbank.

If you do not make Arm a British owned company again with a Golden Share for national economic security, history will remember you as the person who, when the chips are down, failed to act in the national interest.

Yours sincerely

Dr Hermann Hauser FRS, KBE