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FirstFT: Truss plans bid to persuade SoftBank to list Arm in London

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Good morning. Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng are preparing to launch a last-ditch charm offensive to persuade Japan’s SoftBank to list British tech company Arm in the UK.

The government will push for high-level talks with SoftBank executives after the official period of mourning for the Queen ends next week, according to officials with knowledge of the situation.

The City of London has been rocked by takeover attempts for some of its largest tech groups in recent months — such as Aveva, Microfocus and GB Group — adding pressure on Truss’s administration to arrest the erosion of the UK’s listed tech sector.

SoftBank has previously indicated that it wants to list Arm, the Cambridge-based chip designer that it acquired in 2016 for $32bn, in New York.

However, SoftBank executives had begun talks with UK officials about the possibility of a rare dual listing for Arm on both sides of the Atlantic.

That arrangement would be viewed as a vote of confidence in the London stock market and would enable UK-focused investors and pension funds to invest in one of Britain’s biggest tech success stories.

Do you have any feedback on today’s newsletter? Let me know at [email protected] Thank you for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa and have a great weekend — Jennifer

1. City of London welcomes plans to cut bankers’ bonus cap Kwasi Kwarteng’s plan to scrap a limit on bankers’ bonuses has been welcomed by the City of London, but it will plunge the chancellor into a ferocious debate about how to boost anaemic economic growth. The FT View is that his decision is ultimately the right one, but it will come at a political cost.

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2. Russia acknowledges Chinese ‘concerns’ over Ukraine invasion President Vladimir Putin has told his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping that Moscow values Beijing’s “balanced position” on the war, according to a Kremlin transcript of their meeting in Uzbekistan yesterday, in the first public admission of differences between Russia and China over the conflict.

3. Hungary pledges more rule-of-law concessions to EU Budapest has offered more concessions, including the creation of an anti-corruption body, to avoid facing cuts to billions of euros in much-needed funding under a new procedure to penalise countries for breaching the rule of law.

4. Critical moment for crypto market Ethereum, the world’s second-biggest blockchain, has completed a long-awaited upgrade to its system, which is expected to slash its energy costs and was intended to prepare the ground for more use of cryptocurrency technology in mainstream finance.

5. China’s LGFVs go on land-buying spree The country’s local government financing vehicles are rushing to buy vast quantities of land with borrowed funds, bailing out cash-strapped cities and provinces and propping up a collapsing real estate sector after an exodus of debt-stricken private developers.

How well did you keep up with the news this week? Take our quiz.

The days ahead

Queen’s children hold vigil King Charles III, Princess Anne and Princes Andrew and Edward will hold a vigil at 7.30pm tonight to mourn the death of their mother, Queen Elizabeth II. The late monarch will be buried in a private ceremony after her state funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday.

Erdoğan meets Putin Turkey’s president will meet his Russian counterpart on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Recent fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan will be on the agenda, while the US and EU are pressuring Ankara to crack down on Russian sanctions evasion. (Reuters, FT)

Economic data The EU releases its harmonised index of consumer prices for August, UK retail sales figures are out for the same month and Italy’s publishes July CPI and trade figures. The US is expected to show strong jobs growth in July, but less than in June. (FT, WSJ)

Tomorrow: Philip Lane, the European Central Bank’s executive board member, speaks at the annual Dublin Economics Workshop in Wexford.

Skandal! premiere The Netflix documentary charting the incredible story of how the Financial Times’ Dan McCrum took down Germany’s huge and fraudulent payment processor Wirecard will be released globally today.

Dan McCrum
Dan McCrum, right, spent seven years investigating the fraudulent payment processor Wirecard, a tale that is still playing out as executives await trial © Courtesy of Netflix

Join board members and C-suite executives in person or online for the Cyber Resilience Summit on September 21-23 to hear remarks from speakers including Bill Clinton. Register for your pass today.

What else we’re reading

What we keep getting wrong about inflation When things get more expensive, that’s inflation, and it’s bad, so it seems. But an alternative view is Milton Friedman’s: “inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon”. And this distinction matters, argues Tim Harford.

Scenes from the end of an Elizabethan age The state funeral for the Queen will be a solemn ceremony. In the meantime, the public waits to see her lying in state and pay their respects. Imogen West-Knights joined mourners, lost-looking tour groups and history rubberneckers outside Buckingham Palace last weekend to hear why they came, and what they found.

Crowds gather in London to mourn Queen Elizabeth II
Hundreds of thousands of people are travelling to London to mourn the Queen © Benjamin McMahon

Britain and the US: poor societies with some very rich people Where would you rather live? A good way to evaluate which countries are better places to live than others is to ask: is life good for everyone, or only for rich people? The latter is the case for the UK and the US, writes John Burn-Murdoch.

The battle between Lula and Jair Bolsonaro Three years ago, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, or “Lula”, was languishing in jail on charges of corruption and money laundering. But if a divisive election that has pitted Brazil’s former president with its incumbent goes his way, he will soon be back in power.

How to reboot men for gender equality At the top and the bottom of society, new definitions of masculinity can help all to thrive, writes Simon Kuper. Three recent books trace the outlines of a redefined masculinism.

Travel

Michael Palin is back on the road again. This time, to Iraq. With his wanderlust undiminished at the age of 78, the former Monty Python member sets out to hear the stories the country’s people have to tell.

Michael Palin in Erbil
Michael Palin in Erbil © Jaimie Gramston

Disrupted Times — Documenting the changes in business and the economy between Covid and conflict. Sign up here

Asset Management — Sign up here for the inside story of the movers and shakers behind a multitrillion-dollar industry

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