Arm London IPO reportedly halted by Softbank

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SoftBank may have blocked plans to take its UK chip design subsidiary Arm public.

The Japanese giant, founded by billionaire Masayoshi Son, intended to list Arm on the London Stock Exchange and NASDAQ in New York. According to one night FinancialTimes reporthowever, Tokyo-based Softbank has at least halted work on the UK half of this dual list.

The plan for a London listing was born, in part, of a push by future British Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, who saw Arm as a torchbearer of British technology and a London listing as a symbol that the capital stock exchange deserves the attention of global technology investors.

A UK listing would also highlight Arm’s global headquarters, which remains in Cambridge, England, and demonstrate that the post-Brexit nation’s technology and science is worth investing in.

That’s why Johnson reportedly ordered a package of incentives put together to secure a local listing.

Arm is an excellent candidate for a symbolic role as UK’s digital champion, as its technology is deeply rooted in the country and its core business is to create chip designs that others can license and adapt. seen its intellectual property land in billions of devices around the world. world. Arm’s…er…so huge footprint is growing every year as its products fit into growing niches – from the data center to the internet of things that can draw their power from algae.

Arm’s huge customer base is why Softbank bought it in 2016. Nvidia tried to acquire the chip design company in 2020 to deepen the GPU giant in the data center and some other markets .

But regulators didn’t like the idea of ​​the deal, as it would clearly incentivize Nvidia to make life difficult for other Arm technology licensees. The deal fell apart and SoftBank unveiled plan B: take the company public.

The move saw Johnson order ministers to push for a listing in London.

Then, two weeks ago, Johnson uttered words that might sound like he was stepping down. Not only that, but the wave of ministerial resignations leading up to its release meant that the people who had spoken to SoftBank about a London listing were no longer in place, or may not be for long – because a new Prime minister will be appointed in early September. and the reshaped government.

It’s unclear whether SoftBank can slow its pace while it waits to see if Britain’s next regime has the same enthusiasm for a London listing. The FT The report suggests those in the know think SoftBank would rather focus its energies on a New York listing – which Son wanted all along – than wait for the whims of Westminster to smooth things over.

While Arm’s overseas listing would shake British pride, the company retained its Cambridge headquarters throughout its Japanese ownership and said it intended to stay in what we call Silicon Fen. ®

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