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SoftBank boss tempers hopes of Arm London


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Arm’s Japanese owner says New York remains the favorite destination for a float despite a charm offensive from London

Masayoshi Son: American ‘favorite’

Arm’s Japanese owner said New York remains the favorite destination for a float, despite a charm offensive from London.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting, “Nasdaq is the favorite.”

The 64-year-old billionaire added: “Most of Arm’s customers are based in Silicon Valley and the US stock markets would like to have Arm.”

The comments were a blow to the city amid attempts to convince SoftBank that the chip designer should float here. Son confirmed “a strong call for love” from London and said he was being advised by bankers on where regulation would be most favourable.

He confirmed that no decision had been made yet. Leading politicians and businessmen said the lobbying would continue.

Former Tory leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: ‘We must not give up, everything is still in play. It’s vital that we fight for this country’s high-end technology companies.”

Investment Secretary Lord Gerry Grimstone flew to Tokyo this month to meet with SoftBank executives, including Son.

A source close to the situation said: ‘Ministers would like nothing more than a mention, whether primary or secondary, for Poor in London.

“We will continue to raise the matter with the company.” But a US listing would be a bitter blow to the city.

Innovative tech companies are at the heart of the government’s hopes to build wealth after Covid and post-Brexit. They are also key to ‘leveling up’ as they can generate high quality jobs in economic black spots.

Son itself is under pressure from SoftBank investors to raise money from a listing of Arm after it posted a loss of £12.6bn in the quarter ended March following a downturn in the tech sector.

It bought Arm in 2016 for £24 billion. A £31bn sale to chip giant Nvidia fell through this year and Son is aiming for a £41bn float.

Arm was founded in 1990 and is based in Cambridge. It designs the processors that power virtually every smartphone in the world, and its customers include Apple, Qualcomm, and Samsung Electronics.

It employs 6,400 people worldwide, 3,500 of whom are in the UK.


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