Canadian chip developer Alphawave IP is set to float in London after setting a benchmark valuation of $4.5bn from cornerstone investors backing the initial public offering.
The company, founded only four years ago, develops chip technology that pushes data through data centres and phone networks. It intends to raise more than $500m via a listing in London and set up a research centre in Cambridge, the heart of Britain’s semiconductor industry known as “Silicon Fen”, as part of its expansion.
The company will move its headquarters to the UK as part of the float, providing a significant boost to the government’s ambitions to attract more technology businesses to Britain.
BlackRock and Janus Henderson have agreed to buy $510m of shares at an equity valuation of up to $4.5bn. The company will sell at least a quarter of its shares as part of the proposed float.
The potential IPO will breathe life into the UK-listed technology sector and provide a boost to the London markets. The collapse in value of Deliveroo, which floated in London last month, had cast doubt on the London market’s ability to attract other technology business.
London used to have a thriving listed chip sector but companies such as Arm Holdings, Wolfson Microelectronics and CSR were all sold to trade rivals or financial buyers.
Tony Pialis, chief executive of Alphawave IP, said the UK was a natural home for his company. “We can’t think of a better place to continue our expansion,” he said.
He added that with the amount of data growing rapidly as networks expand, the connectivity segment is the fastest growing part of the semiconductor market.
“There’s a lot of press about processors, Arm and AMD, but you cannot have processing without connectivity,” he said.
Barclays and JPMorgan are acting as joining co-ordinators and bookmakers alongside BMO Capital Markets.