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London Stock Exchange CEO still aiming for dual Arm listing

As British element of IPO is put on ice by SoftBank, Julia Hoggett says 'compelling case' remains

The boss of the London Stock Exchange Group is refusing to give up on chip designer Arm listing its shares in the UK.

There was some local hope that Masayoshi Son, the billionaire founder of Arm parent SoftBank, would opt for a dual listing on both the LSE and New York-based NASDAQ. However, this week he put the British element of that proposal on ice amid the change of leadership in the UK government.

Outgoing Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson viewed Arm as a torchbearer for the British technology industry and felt that Arm shares being taken public again on LSE would raise the global profile of the exchange. Incentives are said to have been dangled in front of SoftBank.

Yet Julia Hoggett, chief executive officer at the LSE Group, is still trying to bring the stock of the British chip designer home, some six years since Arm was sold to SoftBank for £24.3 billion ($29 billion).

"I want to win every single offering that I can and I also feel very strongly there is a compelling case for Arm to have a dual premium listing in the UK," she told Bloomberg.

Hoggett added that Arm's previous listing on the London exchange gave it a higher valuation than global peers.

That said, the vote for Brexit in 2016 may have wiped billions off the value of Arm as its share price had been down 20 percent against the Yen compared to its 12-month peak when it was sold, according to Forrester.

Hoggett added: "We have been working very hard. I describe the energy that I have to winning anything as being that we have to be young, scrappy and hungry… We should absolutely fight for anything that we think we have a compelling strategy to propose."

Goldman Sachs is poised to become the lead underwriter for Arm's IPO that in March was estimated to value the business at $60 billion – higher than the offer tabled by Nvidia.

As Reg readers know, that Nvidia deal was scuppered by competition watchdogs in the UK, EU, US, and China. This came amid challenges from other chipmakers that voiced serious concerns about the neutrality status of Arm should it move under Nvidia's ownership.

The proposed sale was terminated by Arm and Nvidia in February.

Unusually, some British unions are behind the government in its efforts to secure a dual listing for Arm.

"Unite Cambridge Engineering branch supports the proposals for a joint listing of Arm on the London Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ in New York," a spokesperson told The Reg. "We would be concerned for the long term future of the company's global HQ remaining in Cambridge if Arm lists exclusively in the USA and we will always fight to defend our members jobs in Cambridge."

Should Arm be listed on LSE, it will be among the top 10 companies with the highest valuations.

Arm has refused to comment. ®

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