• Insight Bite


Is the Daily Mail wrong about ARM?

.Nvidia’s acquisition of ARM is facing opposition on multiple fronts. The UK has initiated a probe into the deal, Chinese regulators have called to block it altogether, and ARM’s customers have raised concerns that a critical section of their supply chain could become owned by a competitor.

Against these headwinds, the case for SoftBank to switch to an initial public offering (IPO) instead is growing stronger. This would be the best outcome from the perspective of the broader tech industry, making ARM a fully independent publicly owned company, and cementing its status as unacquirable. The UK media is getting very excited about this opportunity and I was recently quoted in the Daily Mail.

“Yet breaking even on an IPO could be challenging and we should not get ahead of ourselves. Acuity’s Semiconductor Index shows EV/ Revenue multiples for the industry at 7.3x, so with a predicted revenue for this year of $2.1bn, an ARM IPO would need to be close to 15x for Softbank to balance the books.”

The success of such a relisting, and the potential for ARM to avoid heavy losses, is likely to hinge on how well SoftBank can position the semiconductor designer as an enabler of next-generation technologies.

“The only option may be an IPO, but ARM needs to wait until a number of its recent product initiatives – like the success of the Apple M1 processor – start to bear fruit.”

This fruit could come through Apple. In June last year, the world’s largest tech firm announced its intention to transition its entire computer line to ARM-based processors. Progress in this direction was recently revealed at Apple’s yearly Spring Loaded event, which was jam-packed with announcements around ARM’s M1 processor that lies at the heart of the new iPad Pro and iMac desktop.

Further down the line, ARM’s V9 chip architecture, which comes with additional features for security and AI, could also help boost relisting prospects by ensuring that ARM’s chip architecture stays deeply embedded in the tech industry.

“The only option may be an IPO, but ARM needs to wait until a number of its recent product initiatives – like the success of the Apple M1 processor – start to bear fruit.”

MATTHEW BYATT | Managing Partner
Acuity Advisors

Matthew is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Acuity and leads the Acuity Advisors’ Deeptech practice.

Matthew has held senior leadership and corporate finance positions with some of the UK’s most successful and influential technology and consultancy companies. Roles with ARM, McKinsey and Cadence have given Matthew an exceptional insight into the world’s most successful businesses and a number of the UK’s eminent start-ups, underpinning his success at Acuity.

Matthew has considerable experience across a broad range of technology sectors throughout the UK, US and Asia, ranging from nanotechnology, semiconductor and cleantech to digital media and internet businesses. It’s experience that has given him a robust, well-developed and international network. Having also run and successfully exited his own business, Matthew has a deep understanding of the financial and emotional aspects of this demanding process, bringing a unique and authoritative perspective to each business sale.

One of Matthew’s strengths is understanding complex technical value propositions, one of the benefits of training as an electronic engineer. He gets to the heart of what drives a company’s value and communicates this persuasively to potential buyers and investors. Matthew understands a buyer’s motivation intuitively and delivers a compelling rationale for why a business sale should be of strategic interest. His insight consistently yields higher deal values and results in great successes for his clients.

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About Acuity Advisors


We know technology and are experts in selling businesses, securing equity investments and raising debt finance.Our partners are senior players: skilled at getting to the heart of a technology business, understanding what will attract buyers and investors, and building long-lasting relationships. We have an unrivalled understanding of the industry’s complexities and personalities – our track record and client feedback are compelling evidence of that.

We’re an international firm – most of our deal are cross-border, from offices in London, Munich, Shanghai and Silicon Valley – but we’re grounded in our approach. We move quickly when it’s needed, and we’re around for the long haul when patience is a virtue. We’ve maintained a very high success rate across hundreds of deals while keeping our focus on doing what’s right for our clients. From first meeting to successful exit, we earn the trust that clients and investors put in us.


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