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Nadhim Zahawi continues push for Arm London IPO

Nadhim Zahawi Arm
Image credit: Shutterstock / Michael Vi

Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi has picked up the ongoing effort to persuade Cambridge semiconductor designer Arm to list in London.

According to The Times, Zahawi has reportedly been in touch with Masayoshi Son, chief executive of Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, the parent company of Arm.

The lobbying campaign to entice SoftBank to list Arm in the capital was led by previous investment minister Lord Grimstone and former tech minister Chris Philp, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson also wrote to SoftBank back in May.

However, those efforts were thrown into uncertainty by the resignation of Philp and over 50 Conservative MPs, prompting the departure of Boris Johnson as prime minister.

This led to SoftBank reverting back to its original preference of a New York IP for Arm.

In June Softbank’s Son commented that New York was his “favourite” place to list the Cambridge company, as it is where most of its customers are based.

The Times reported that the minister for exports, Andrew Griffith, is helping with the renewed SoftBank talks.

However, many feel a London IPO for Arm remains out of reach.

Speaking to UKTN in an exclusive interview, Arm’s co-founder Hermann Hauser compared the situation to “trying to close the gate after the horse has bolted”. He added that the UK government should have taken a golden share in Arm “a long time ago”.

The Cambridge firm is often regarded as the “crown jewel” of the UK tech industry. It designs and licences processors that are used widely around the world in smartphones and computers.

Arm was acquired by Softbank in 2016 for $32bn (£23.4bn). Softbank’s plans to list the company come after the abandoned $40bn (£29.6bn) deal to buy Arm earlier this year.

Last year UK tech IPOs raised a record £6.6bn, double the amount of the previous year, counting Deliveroo and Moonpig amongst them.

An Arm IPO would be a major vote of confidence in London markets and a sign that the UK can attract established technology companies to its public markets.