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Third prime minister’s the charm? Sunak revives Arm IPO talks

Sunak Arm
Image credit: I T S via Shutterstock

Rishi Sunak, in what appears to have become a right of passage for a Conservative prime minister, has revived talks with semiconductor company Arm in the hopes of securing a London initial public offering (IPO).

Sunak met with both Rene Haas, chief executive of Arm, and Masayoshi Son, CEO of Arm’s parent company SoftBank, according to sources that spoke to the Financial Times.

The prime minister’s efforts to convince the Cambridge-founded microchip designer to go public in London follow previous attempts from leading Conservative politicians.

During his time in Downing Street, Boris Johnson wrote to SoftBank at a time when a New York listing was Son’s favoured option. In August, then-chancellor, Nadhim Zahawi continued the lobbying efforts before Liz Truss took the baton, reigniting talks with SoftBank in September.

Founded in 1990, Arm is a key player in the semiconductor industry, with its designs used in smartphones, modern vehicles, and military systems.

Arm listed publicly in London in 1998, becoming an early star of the UK tech industry. However, the company was delisted in 2016 after it was acquired by the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank.

SoftBank has revealed that it intends to once again take Arm public, though the destination remains undecided.

A London IPO will be seen as a major coup for the UK’s public markets, which have historically lost out to the US when attracting tech listings.

UKTN has contacted Arm and SoftBank for comment.

Read more: UK left it too late to take golden share in Arm, says Hermann Hauser