Nvidia to Buy Mellanox in $6.8B Data-Center Bet

The chipmaker believes the deal will help “extend our computing reach from the server, where we are today, out to the entire data center."
Matthew HellerMarch 11, 2019
Nvidia to Buy Mellanox in $6.8B Data-Center Bet

In its largest-ever acquisition, Nvidia said Monday it had agreed to acquire Israel’s Mellanox Technologies for $6.8 billion to boost its business supplying chips for data-center servers.

Both companies provide HPC (high-performance computing) solutions for data centers but their chips perform different functions. Nvidia’s GPU (graphic processing unit) chips process information while Mellanox sells networking hardware that interconnects devices in the data center.

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Nvidia reportedly bested Intel in a bidding war for Mellanox. Under the terms of the deal, it will pay $125 per share, a premium of 14% to Mellanox’s Friday closing price.

“We’re excited to unite Nvidia’s accelerated computing platform with Mellanox’s world-renowned accelerated networking platform under one roof to create next-generation datacenter-scale computing solutions,” Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of Nvidia, said in a news release.

Nvidia also makes chips for the gaming and automotive markets. “The chipmaker has grown at a rapid pace in the past few years under [Huang], but a slowdown in China and a fading cryptocurrency craze have started to weigh on its sales in recent quarters,” Reuters reported.

For the year ended Jan. 27, Nvidia’s data-center segment accounted for 25%, or $2.93 billion, of total revenue of $6.25 billion but the business grew 51% year-over-year.

“The rationale for the acquisition is a long-term vision of the data-center architecture where the data processing and interconnections technologies are more and more integrated,” Seeking Alpha said.

Mellanox’s boards segment, which corresponds to network cards, is its most important in terms of revenue and growth. It has previously collaborated with Nvidia in building the world’s two fastest supercomputers, operated by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The acquisition will help Nvidia “extend our computing reach from the server, where we are today, out to the entire data center,” Huang said.

But Seeking Alpha said Nvidia will now not only compete with Intel in the data-center CPU/GPU market but also in the data-center Ethernet card market. According to Crehan Research, Intel is the leader in the high-speed Ethernet adapter and controller business.