Belfast Telegraph

ARM investors overwhelmingly back Softbank's £24.3bn swoop

Softbank's £24.3 billion swoop for ARM Holdings has moved a step closer after winning the overwhelming backing of the British technology giant's shareholders.

ARM's investors voted 95% in favour of the deal , which will mark the biggest Asian investment into the UK once it is formally completed on Monday.

ARM is widely regarded as the jewel in the crown of the UK technology sector, designing microchips for Apple iPhones, Samsung's Galaxy smartphones and Amazon's Kindle e-readers.

As part of the tie-up, Japan's Softbank said it will embark on a major recruitment drive, doubling ARM's 1,600-strong UK workforce while keeping its headquarters in Cambridge.

Softbank's offer values ARM at 1700p per share, a 43% premium on its closing share price of 1189p on July 15.

The takeover has received a blistering attack from former City minister Lord Myners, telling the BBC that the tie-up was an example of the UK "selling out of our winners".

He added that Softbank's pledge to the UK government to double ARM Holdings' UK staff and keep its Cambridge HQ were "probably not legally enforceable".

The comments come after the co-founder of ARM Holdings, Hermann Hauser, said the deal was a ''sad day'' for the British technology sector when it was first announced on July 18.

City experts have also warned that the tie-up could lead to a ''brain drain'' if ARM Holdings' businesses are moved out of the UK.

Softbank has pledged to hold onto ARM's existing management team and grow its global operation over the next five years.

Sterling's slump to 31-year lows after Britain voted to leave the European Union made ARM Holdings more susceptible to a foreign takeover.

Prime Minister Theresa May said last month that the deal showed "Britain is open for business", despite stating a week earlier that she would develop an "industrial strategy" to defend British companies from foreign takeovers.

The deal will face a court hearing on Thursday before it is formally sealed on Monday September 5.