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UK PM Johnson's spokesman: Not aware of plans to force ARM into London IPO

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LONDON (Reuters) -British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman on Wednesday said he was not aware of any plans to try to compel chip designer ARM to list in London after the Financial Times reported that officials were considering such a move.

Asked whether the government would use new national security powers to try and force ARM, which is owned by Japan's SoftBank, to list in London, the spokesman said: "I'm not aware of any plans to."

ARM, whose technology underpins the global smartphone industry, was bought by SoftBank in a $32 billion deal that received the minimum of level of regulatory scrutiny in 2016.

After the sale of ARM to chip giant Nvidia collapsed earlier this year, SoftBank said it would purse a new listing of the company, most likely on the U.S. Nasdaq exchange.

The decision was a blow to London's ambitions to attract tech listings, particularly as ARM was the most valuable FTSE 100 tech stock before it was sold.

Britain introduced new legislation this year that gives the government powers to intervene in takeovers to protect national security.

The FT said the British government had debated using the legislation to push SoftBank to list the company in London.

However, it said some government officials had advised that the law would not apply because a proposed listing was not considered as an acquisition.

Tech minister Chris Philp said earlier this month that Britain was still involved in the process of listing ARM.

"We're working closely with ARM as we work closely with all significant UK tech companies," he told Reuters.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout, Elizabeth Piper and Paul Sandle; editing by William James)

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