Rishi launches fresh bid to bring microchip designer Arm to London


Rishi launches fresh bid to convince owner of microchip designer Arm to list in London as well as New York

Rishi Sunak has revived talks to convince the foreign owner of Arm to list in London as well as New York.

The Prime Minister met the British technology group’s chief executive Rene Haas in Downing Street last month to discuss its future.

Masayoshi Son, the billionaire founder of Arm’s owner Softbank, joined the meeting via video link, according to the Financial Times.

Tech gem: Arm was formerly listed on both the FTSE 100 and Nasdaq before it was bought by Softbank and politicians lobbied last summer to bring it back to British soil

Japanese multinational Softbank bought the Cambridge-based business in 2016 in a £26billion swoop, but now wants to offload it.

A stock market listing on the Nasdaq in New York – where shares in rivals such as Nvidia, Qualcomm and Intel trade – is the preferred option. 

But the Government and the London Stock Exchange (LSE) are pushing for Arm shares to be listed in Britain as well.

Arm was formerly listed on both the FTSE 100 and Nasdaq before it was bought by Softbank and politicians lobbied last summer to bring this tech gem back to British soil.

But turmoil in Westminster and the wider initial public offering (IPO) slump saw Softbank abandon all flotation plans last year, leaving the listing location in limbo. According to management consultancy EY, global IPO volumes fell by 45 per cent in 2022.

It is understood that Sunak, as well as the LSE, are keen to reignite discussions, urging Softbank towards a secondary listing in London, allowing UK investors more exposure and feeding returns back into the economy.

LSE chief Julia Hoggett has recently called for the UK to do more to not only grow tech titans, but retain them.

‘We’ve got lots of start-up fuel,’ she said. ‘But we’re not running the engine.’

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, a global network of tech founders, explained a renewed push for a dual listing could reinforce the UK as a ‘significant player’ in the semiconductor space.

‘A floatation would give Arm a unique position in London and make them a harbinger to attract other tech talent into the capital,’ he said.

Gerard Grech, who heads up another UK founder network Tech Nation, said: ‘To have a listing in London would be seen as a significant vote of confidence in the UK market, while for Arm tapping into both exchanges could potentially increase its access to capital.’

Anthony Browne, Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire, said it was crucial that Arm has a listing in the UK, calling it a ‘key part of our national security infrastructure’.

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