The City would back it in a heartbeat. Fund managers are desperate to own technology stocks, despite many of the same investors facilitating Arm’s sale in 2016. By selling shares to overseas investors, it would help to counter suggestions that Brexit Britain has suddenly adopted a more protectionist stance. A retail offering would ensure there is wider public support too.
The billions raised could be ploughed back into its Cambridge base, matching a pledge from Nvidia, and a joint venture agreed with the Americans to make up for the disappointment of being jilted so late in the day.
And it would give the Government the home-grown tech champion to rival Facebook or Apple that it craves. Arm is already an established global star but its sale to Softbank was an act of national stupidity by a government desperate to prove its international investment credentials in the wake of the referendum.
This is a golden opportunity to reverse that mistake and ensure Arm’s future is preserved, rather than the company becoming an expendable offshoot of a foreign rival.
Smarter moves at Ted Baker
Amazing what you can achieve when employees aren’t complaining about having to cuddle their boss. Ted Baker founder Ray Kelvin denied claims of “forced hugging” but stood down anyway, a break from the past that helped pave the way for chief executive Rachel Osborne to lift the lid on a company that had experienced a catastrophic wardrobe malfunction.
Her turnaround got off to a terrible start, suggesting management had underestimated the extent of the malaise: four profit warnings; plus an embarrassing inventory blunder that blew a £60m hole in its balance sheet. Then Covid hammered sales at a retailer that had a strong high street presence, a substandard online offering and a heavy focus on suits and shirts.
A £200m emergency fundraising, combined with further cost-cutting have helped to stabilise the balance sheet and Osborne’s heavy-lifting has steadied the ship on the operational front.
The end of lockdown has been a predictable boost. Quarterly turnover has jumped 50pc and profit margins are up 5pc. The change in fortunes has prompted a notable change in mood at the top. Having described December’s interim results as “an unforgettable period for the wrong reasons”, Osborne is now talking about a transformation that is on track.
Yet, a delay to the new website is a reminder that the past hasn’t entirely been put behind it. Plus, store sales are still 45pc down on in 2019so it’s too soon for an entirely voluntary group hug.