Bit of a difficulty there when you’re a market commentator for a major newspaper:
A far better alternative exists anyway, at least from Arm’s perspective and the wider national interest: a bumper share listing that returns it to the stock market after an underwhelming five years in Softbank’s hands.
The City would back it in a heartbeat. Fund managers are desperate to own technology stocks, despite many of the same investors facilitating Arm’s sale in 2016. By selling shares to overseas investors, it would help to counter suggestions that Brexit Britain has suddenly adopted a more protectionist stance. A retail offering would ensure there is wider public support too.
The billions raised could be ploughed back into its Cambridge base, matching a pledge from Nvidia, and a joint venture agreed with the Americans to make up for the disappointment of being jilted so late in the day.
Softbank is selling it. The money from the sale – whether selling the company to Nvidia, or floating it on a stock market – goes to Softbank.
Plus, of course, Softbank wants its money. Meaning that they’d have to try and float the whole thing, not retain a shareholding at all. Which would be rather tough to do.
In short, the man’s dribbling.
And it would give the Government the home-grown tech champion to rival Facebook or Apple that it craves. Arm is already an established global star but its sale to Softbank was an act of national stupidity by a government desperate to prove its international investment credentials in the wake of the referendum.
This is a golden opportunity to reverse that mistake and ensure Arm’s future is preserved, rather than the company becoming an expendable offshoot of a foreign rival.
It wasn’t the government’s to sell in the first place and isn’t the government’s to dispose of now either. It’s also a home grown champion whoever owns it. It’s all getting rather Mussolini this stuff, isn’t it?