The Daily Telegraph
Investors consider London float of Arm after Sunak lobbying blitz
THE British microchip giant Arm has left the door open for a London listing as its owner Softbank steps up plans to float the company.
Ian Thornton, Arm’s head of investor relations, said the Cambridge-based semiconductor designer was weighing up the London Stock Exchange against New York’s two major exchanges. Rishi Sunak and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are running a charm offensive to encourage Softbank to at least partially list its shares in London, in what would be seen as a significant coup for the Prime Minister’s technology ambitions.
Mr Thornton told investors: “We are indeed considering Nasdaq, NYSE [the New York Stock Exchange] and London. No decision has been taken at this time.”
Despite a recent slump in technology shares cooling demand for new listings, he said preparations were advanced, that market conditions were improving and that the company was fully committed to floating this year.
Arm’s designs underpin billions of microchips used in smartphones, games consoles, cars and connected devices. It is being prepared for a float after regulators last year scuppered Softbank’s attempts to sell the Cambridge-based company to Silicon Valley’s Nvidia for $40bn (£33bn).
The company was spun out of the British computer maker Acorn in 1990 and was part of the FTSE 100 until Softbank paid £24bn for it in 2016. Softbank’s billionaire chief executive Masayoshi Son has previously said that New York’s tech-focused Nasdaq is the most likely candidate for a listing, but ministers have been pushing for Arm to consider a secondary listing in Britain.
Making London more attractive for technology floats was a priority for Mr Sunak as chancellor. The Prime Minister recently met Mr Son to promote the London Stock Exchange. The FCA is reportedly considering relaxing certain listing rules to foster a London float.
Arm’s sales jumped by 28pc in the past quarter to $746m as a record 8bn microchips were shipped using its technology. It is seeking to move beyond its traditionally strong hold on the smartphone market to areas such as electric cars and data centres.