The Daily Telegraph

Investors consider London float of Arm after Sunak lobbying blitz

- By James Titcomb

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.

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