Co-founder of Arm partly blames Brexit idiocy for US flotation

A co-founder at the Cambridge-based chip manufacturer believes that the “idiocy of Brexit” was partly responsible for Arm’s choice to list in New York rather than London. However, a secondary listing on the London stock exchange would be a good idea.

SoftBank, the parent company of Arm, has filed for an exclusive listing in the US, a blow for the UK Government, which had lobbied for a London-based listing.

Hermann Hauser , co-founder of Arm, said that the company would struggle to raise the $10bn required to fund the float in the UK. Softbank needs to support Arm’s growth, he added.

He explained on BBC Radio 4 Today why, in his opinion, the company had decided to avoid a dual listing both in London and New York.

He said that the problem was the double administrative effort involved in launching on two stock markets at once. “New York is of course a deeper market than London. Partly because of the Brexit idiocy, the image of London in the international community has suffered.”

Softbank announced on Saturday that it had sent a draft registration to the US Securities and Exchange Commission for the listing.

Hauser, an Austrian physicist with a PhD from Cambridge University, helped establish Arm in 1990 following his first venture Acorn which produced the BBC Micro computer. Hauser, who is now a venture capitalist in UK tech companies and has sold his shares in Arm to SoftBank in 2016, when the company was purchased for £24bn.

He said: “Arm is a UK-based company. It is one of the most globally successful tech companies in the UK. There is a great deal of support for Arm in London City.” It would be logical for Arm to have at least a secondary listing in the London Stock Exchange.

Arm is responsible for the design of microchips or processors that power everything from washing machines to televisions and smartphones. Hauser said that the design had become a global monopoly, but cautioned that the British semiconductor industry is not comparable with the American or European semiconductor industries. Unfortunately, we lost this during Thatcher’s era when we refused to support Ferranti or others.