August 11, 2022


Zahawi set for crunch talks with billionaire Masayoshi Son over bringing Arm back to London

3 min read
Nadhim Zahawi is set for crunch talks with billionaire Masayoshi Son over bringing Arm back...

Nadhim Zahawi is set for crunch talks with billionaire Masayoshi Son over bringing Arm back to London. 

The Chancellor will meet the SoftBank chairman this month as Zahawi looks to resume the charm offensive started by Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson. 

SoftBank is in the process of listing Arm on the public markets, after buying the British tech giant in 2016. But so far, Son leans towards a US float. 

Nadhim Zahawi is set for crunch talks with billionaire Masayoshi Son, pictured, over bringing Arm back to London

Sources say Zahawi wrote to Son two weeks ago requesting a meeting, following SoftBank’s decision in July to halt plans to explore a listing of Arm in the UK during the political turmoil. 

Having Arm list in London is a top priority for Zahawi, who became Chancellor on July 5, and would be a major boost for the London Stock Exchange. 

A source told the Mail: ‘It is no surprise this high on the agenda for Zahawi. He’s a swashbuckling character who likes to make things happen.’ 

Hopes are that Zahawi will convince billionaire Son to float Arm in London, or at the very least have a secondary listing in the capital. Analysts estimate Arm would float with a market value of £34bn, which would make it the largest tech company in London, more than four times the size of the current leader Ocado. 

It is understood Son will make a decision this summer, and has become increasingly frustrated by the chopping and changing at the heart of the Government. Former investment minister Lord Grimstone was leading discussions with SoftBank along with ex-tech minister Chris Philp, but both have resigned. 

SoftBank halted talks on a London listing as a result, and the source said messages from ministers are going unanswered. Andrew Griffith, an ex-Sky executive and now minister for exports, is said to be helping with the renewed efforts. 

The source said: ‘Son wants reassurances from the UK and he wants clarity. He had a particularly good relationship with Gerry Grimstone who was doing a good job championing London and convincing Son.’ 

Zahawi faces an uphill battle as Son told the annual meeting in June that the Nasdaq was the favoured destination. Son said he had received ‘a strong love call’ from London, after months of intense lobbying. 

Efforts included meeting former Chancellor Mr Sunak, while in June Grimstone flew to Tokyo to meet SoftBank executives. The Prime Minister wrote to SoftBank executives in May. Arm was listed in London until it was bought by SoftBank for £24bn in 2016. 

The Japanese conglomerate was pushed into floating it again after US chip giant Nvidia abandoned a £32bn takeover bid this year. Arm was founded in 1990 and is based in Cambridge. It designs the processors that run virtually every smartphone on the planet and its customers include Apple, Qualcomm and Samsung Electronics. It employs 6,400 people globally, 3,500 of them in the UK. 

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