Ministers under pressure to intervene in £30bn takeover of British chip-maker Arm Holdings to safeguard UK HQ
- The Government was already facing calls from opposition MPs to prevent the new owners of Arm moving its headquarters abroad
- Sources confirmed over the weekend that Arm is set to be snapped up by US rival Nvidia
Ministers are under pressure to intervene in the £30billion takeover of British chip-maker Arm Holdings.
The Government was already facing calls from opposition MPs to prevent the new owners of Arm, Britain’s most valuable tech company, moving its headquarters abroad.
Now Tory figures are understood to be leaning on Business Secretary Alok Sharma to ensure Arm remains at its base in Cambridge, preserving thousands of British jobs.
Under pressure: Tory figures are understood to be leaning on Business Secretary Alok Sharma
Sources confirmed over the weekend that Arm is set to be snapped up by US rival Nvidia in a £30billion deal, just four years after it was bought by Japan’s Softbank. The deal could be announced as soon as today.
When Softbank stumped up £24billion for Arm in 2016, Theresa May’s government insisted on guarantees which would keep its HQ in Britain.
MPs are now urging Sharma to impose similar requirements on Nvidia, to prevent the UK losing its tech sector ‘crown jewel’.
Labour MP Ed Miliband, shadow business secretary, said: ‘The Government should show leadership and seek legally binding assurances from Nvidia, should it take over the company, to keep
Arm headquartered in the UK.’ Arm, which makes vital chips used in smartphones, employs around 3,000 UK workers and has 6,500 staff globally.
When Softbank bought the business four years ago, ministers heralded the deal as a vote of confidence in post-Brexit Britain.
But critics said the UK was allowing foreign investors to snap up its most promising companies. Former City minister Lord Myners called the sale of Arm to Softbank a ‘tragedy’. He said last month that the UK should ‘introduce more legal and national protection around assets that we think are of significant importance’.
The Government can intervene in takeovers on national security grounds, and guidance cites examples of firms designing complex tech infrastructure, like Arm, among those that need protection.
Science and technology union Prospect also wrote to Sharma last week, urging him to stand up for Arm.
In a hint that ministers were considering restrictions, a Government spokesman said it was monitoring developments, adding: ‘Where we feel a takeover may represent a threat to the UK, the Government will not hesitate to investigate, which could lead to conditions on the deal.’