UK Government Could Use National Security Law to Keep Arm Listing in London

The UK government wants the conglomerate SoftBank to list the chip designer Arm in London, rather than in the U.S., and has discussed the use of national security legislation to convince the Japanese investor, according to a note published Wednesday (June 22) in the Financial Times. 

The Uk government has debated internally whether to apply the U.K.’s new National Security and Investment Act (NSIA), but has not formally done so, among other reasons, because some officials have pushed back believing it wouldn’t be applicable as the proposed listing was not considered an acquisition.

Government officials said they had preferred attempts at persuasion. Lord Gerry Grimstone, Britain’s investment minister, has met with Rajeev Misra, head of SoftBank’s $100bn Vision Fund, according to people briefed on the efforts, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sent a letter to SoftBank executives. 

A person involved in the discussions said the UK government had so far used “carrots” rather than “sticks” in the talks and had offered to provide Arm with subsidies on research and grants. This person added that officials had not made specific threats and that their message was more akin to “you don’t want to make an enemy out of us”.

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