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Restructure at Arm focused on 'non-engineering' roles

Now CEO wants to vacuum up tech talent amid return to stock market

Arm today told The Reg its earlier restructuring ahead of its return to the stock market was focused on cutting "non-engineering" jobs.

This is after we queried comments made this morning by Arm chief executive Rene Haas in the Financial Times, in which he indicated he was looking to use funds generated by the expected public listing to expand the company, hire more staff, and potentially pursue acquisitions – all, we note, after laying off workers.

This afternoon we were told by an Arm spokesperson: "Rene was referring more to the fact that Arm continues to invest significantly in its engineering talent, which makes up around 75 percent of the global headcount. For example, we currently have more than 250 engineering roles available globally."

Non-engineering types were less lucky in the rounds of redundancies, which kicked off some weeks ago. The spokesperson told us: "In terms of the recent widely reported restructure, these changes were focused on optimizing Arm's General and Administrative (G&A) and other non-engineering functions, ensuring we have the right balance of roles to support the size and scale of the business."

By restructure, they're referring to Arm shedding 1,000 workers worldwide, which reportedly included cutting one in ten jobs in the UK side of the organization, equating to about 350 positions. Word of the layoffs emerged in March.

Haas, who took over as CEO from Simon Segars in February when the sale to Nvidia fell through, told the FT today he wanted to use proceeds from Arm's upcoming public offering to pursue deals and hire more staff. Any acquisitions could help Arm further its ongoing efforts to move beyond existing strongholds in the mobile and embedded markets and to expand the company's footprint in the datacenter.

Cash generated through an IPO "can help with M&A or you can hire faster – we'll look at both of those areas," the FT quoted Haas as saying.

Meanwhile, there has been controversy over where Arm will be listed following its IPO, with Masayoshi Son, chief executive of the chip designer's parent company SoftBank, indicating that the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York is the favored location.

"Most of Arm's clients are based in Silicon Valley and... stock markets in the US would love to have Arm," he told shareholders at the company's annual general meeting.

But the UK government has made it clear that it wants Arm to be listed on the London stock exchange, and recent reports claimed that it is considering using national security laws to force the issue with SoftBank.

This would mean applying the National Security and Investment Act (NSIA), which came into force at the start of the year, in a bid to have SoftBank change its mind over listing Arm exclusively on the Nasdaq. The legislation gives UK ministers the power to halt mergers and acquisitions if they deem this necessary.

Critics, however, believe this use of the legislation may not be appropriate in this case, and point out that the UK government did nothing to stop the sale of Arm to SoftBank back in 2016, which meant the company is already owned by a foreign entity.

SoftBank has previously stated it aims to complete the Arm IPO within the current fiscal year ending March 31, 2023.

The company was said to be seeking to have the chip designer valued at up to $60 billion for the sale, and later reports suggested SoftBank may aim to keep a controlling stake in Arm as the company was unsure whether it would reach the full value if it divested itself completely of the Brit chip outfit in the current economic climate. ®

Editor's note: This article was updated at 1600 UTC to include the response from Arm clarifying the CEO's comments.

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