Japanese investment group Softbank said on Friday it has decided to list the chip designer Arm in the United States later this year.
The decision comes after much lobbying by the British government, which hoped to lure the tech giant back to London.
However, Softbank said it could eventually list in London as well, adding that it intended to consider a subsequent IPO there in due course, without providing further details.
The decision is a blow to London, where Arm was listed for 18 years until it was bought by SoftBank in 2016 in a $32-billion deal that received the minimum level of scrutiny by the government, leading to criticism that it had allowed Britain’s biggest tech success to be bought by foreign investors.
London worked hard to get the listing, with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Arm chief executive Rene Haas meeting in Downing Street last month, according to reports. SoftBank’s founder Masayoshi Son said to have joined by video call.
The loss follows a decision by Dublin-based building materials giant CRH on Thursday to move its primary listing from London to the United States.
Arm designs the processor technology used in nearly every smartphone, selling intellectual property to companies such as Apple and Qualcomm.
“After engagement with the British government and the Financial Conduct Authority over several months, SoftBank and Arm have determined that pursuing a US-only listing of Arm in 2023 is the best path forward for the company and its stakeholders,” Haas said in a statement.
A British government spokesperson said: “The UK is taking forward ambitious reforms to the rules governing its capital markets, building on our continued success as Europe’s leading hub for investment, and the second largest globally.”
Arm, which was founded and is based in Cambridge, east England, with another base in San Jose, California, said it would maintain its headquarters, operations and material IP in Britain.
The company said it would increase its British workforce and would open a new site in Bristol, west England.
Arm has pushed into markets beyond smartphones, such as data centre servers, where its low-power designs can cut energy use. Its sales grew 28% in its most recent quarter to $746 million, making it one of the few growth areas for SoftBank.
The Japanese conglomerate decided to list Arm after the collapse of a deal to sell the chip designer to rival Nvidia, valued at up to $80 billion, in the face of anti-trust concerns last year.
It immediately identified New York as its preferred destination, where the company will join the likes of Intel, Qualcomm and Nvidia.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard