Can London recover as a centre for capital raising?
The decision by its Japanese owners to relist ARM, the UK’s great technology success story, in the US instead of London was inevitable after years of decline and the hammer blow of Brexit. Deregulation might further accelerate its collapse, even as the City wins a boost from new technology bringing the vast pool of retail money into equity capital markets.
The decision by SoftBank, confirmed in statements to media at the start of March, to float UK technology company ARM only in the US rather than with a primary or even a dual listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) comes as a big disappointment to those desperate to pretend the City is not losing its status as a leading financial centre.
However, it was hardly a surprise.
Even after the great sell off in 2022, US investors still put higher valuations on technology stocks than do their UK and European peers. And ARM, a UK-headquartered semiconductor and software design company founded in Cambridge in 1990, has an unusual business of licensing its technologies to leading manufacturers of popular accessories such as mobile phones, smart TVs and iPads.
“This is an attractive model and it’s easy to see why the market would be excited to see shares in the company listed,” states Sophie Lund-Yates, lead equity analyst at UK retail broker Hargreaves Lansdown.