Rumour: Nvidia considering buying stake in VIA

Written by Ben Hardwidge

March 30, 2009 // 10:02 a.m.

Tags: #300 #atom #company #intel #ion #million #nano #nvidia #placement #private #shares #stock #taiwan #via

Nvidia has already revealed that it plans to enter the x86 CPU market at some point, but this could be a problem when you consider that Nvidia doesn’t have an x86 license from Intel, and its relationship with Intel is currently looking rockier than a rockery at the Hard Rock Café. This could be a part of the reason why Nvidia is rumoured to be in talks with VIA about buying up shares in the Taiwanese chip company.

According to DigiTimes, VIA plans to sell 300 million new shares at a price between NT$9 and NT$12 (£0.19 - £0.25) via private placement. More importantly, however, the site claims to have spoken to market sources who revealed that Nvidia is in talks with VIA to buy a portion of the new shares.

VIA’s current Investor Relations FAQ states that 1,309,236,885 shares had been issued as of September 2007. As such, an extra 300 million shares could account for almost a fifth of the company’s ownership. DigiTimes says that VIA wouldn’t reveal whether it was indeed in talks with Nvidia, but did say that it would announce the possible candidates for the private placement after a shareholder meeting on 19 June.

Nvidia declined to comment on the rumour when we asked the company earlier. However, while owning a stake in VIA wouldn’t get Nvidia an x86 license, it could potentially mean that VIA could produce specific x86 CPUs for Nvidia’s purposes. Plus, Nvidia also has an interest in keeping VIA well-funded, as the new Ion 2 platform will support VIA’s Nano CPUs as well as Intel’s Atom CPU. Nvidia recently claimed that Intel’s next-generation “Pineview” Atom CPUs would “force” customers to use Intel integrated graphics, so Nvidia is going to need VIA if it wants to keep its next-generation Ion platform alive.

Would it make sense for Nvidia to invest in VIA? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

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