UK prime minister Boris Johnson has reportedly joined government efforts to convince Softbank to list Arm in London (opens in new tab) rather than in New York, with officials believing the latter course of action would be a blow to hopes of building up the UK’s technology sector.
Softbank is planning an initial public offering (IPO) after being thwarted in its attempts to sell Arm to chip manufacturer Nvidia for $40 billion earlier this year and is understood to strongly favour a listing on the tech-heavy Nasdaq.
The government has made technology as central pillar of its economic strategy and is keen to promote research and investment in the sector. Arm's activities in areas like 5G, the Internet of Things (IoT), and quantum computing mean it is seen as particular important in these efforts.
Accordingly, officials believe a listing in the US rather than the UK would deliver a negative signal to the wider industry given Arm’s status as the best-known British-based technology company.
Arm was founded and is headquartered in Cambridge and was listed on the London Stock Exchange prior to its 2016 acquisition by the Japanese conglomerate.
Johnson has joined ministers and civil servants in their lobbying efforts, although it is thought there is only a slim chance of forcing Softbank to reconsider.
There are few easy regulatory changes that could be made to make a London listing more attractive, but the Financial Times says the idea of Arm being a big fish in a small pond when it comes to tech stocks will be reinforced during discussions.
Softbank is pursuing an initial public offering (IPO) of Arm following the collapse of the deal with Nvidia over competition concerns. The government itself intervened in the matter before the plug was pulled earlier this year.
Via Financial Times (opens in new tab)