ARM Files For IPO, But Not In London

Softbank’s ARM Holdings registers for public listing in the US, in a blow to UK listing hopes and high level lobbying

The owner of ARM Holdings has, as expected, rebuffed the charm offensive from a number of British Prime Ministers to consider a dual listing in both the US and UK.

The blow to London was confirmed after ARM registered for a US listing, in a move paves the way for one of the largest initial public offerings (IPOs) of the year.

“ARM today announced that it has confidentially submitted a draft registration statement on Form F-1 to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) relating to the proposed initial public offering of American depositary shares representing its ordinary shares,” it said.


Nasdaq listing

In a statement, it said the size and price range for the proposed offering had not yet been confirmed, but a number of reports have suggested the firm is aiming to raise between $8bn and $10bn.

The blockbuster listing comes despite adverse market conditions, and uncertainty in the global economy.

The listing is expected to happen later this year and the exact timing will be determined by market conditions.

In March ARM had rebuffed the UK government when it confirmed it planned to list on the Nasdaq only.

Three British Prime Ministers had lobbied hard to encourage a London listing – the latest being Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who in January held a meeting with ARM CEO Rene Haas and SoftBank’s founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son, in a last ditch attempt to convince ARM and SoftBank to apply for a public listing in London.

ARM however has pledged to keep its headquarters, operations and “material intellectual property” in the UK, and also said it intends to expand its presence with a new site in Bristol and “continued headcount”.

Nvidia sale

The decision to seek an IPO came after ARM’s $40bn sale to GPU powerhouse Nvidia was called off in February 2022, due to “significant regulatory challenges”.

The UK government had led that global challenge to the deal, and indicated it would block it on national security grounds.

Soon after the Nvidia deal fell through, Masayoshi Son in February 2022 indicated that the US Nasdaq would be the most likely listing destination for ARM.

The head of Japan’s SoftBank then reiterated this stance in June 2022.

Dual listed

ARM was formed in 1990 when it was spun out of Acorn Computers, and its chip designs are used in 95 percent of smartphones due to their low power consumption.

This makes ARM a major force in the semiconductor market, and it licensing its designs to some of the world’s largest consumer tech manufacturers including Qualcomm and Apple.

Japan’s SoftBank had acquired ARM for $32bn in 2016.

Before that, ARM was actually dual-listed in London and New York until the 2016 SoftBank acquisition – an acquisition the UK government at the time welcomed, despite concern at ARM falling into the hands of a foreign entity.