Listing rumours for Raspberry Pi? No ‘urgency’ says Upton

Industry talk is continuing to circulate regarding a possible listing for the UK makers of the diminutive Raspberry Pi computer.

Over the weekend, UK newspaper The Telegraph reported that a spring listing could be in the offing, with a valuation of more than £370m slapped onto the computer maker.

Pi boss, Eben Upton, described the article as “interesting” in an email to The Register today, before repeating that “we’re always looking at ways to fund the future growth of the business, but the $45m we raised in September has taken some of the urgency out of that.”

Mutterings regarding a potential IPO emerged earlier in 2021 – Upton waved off rumours in March 2021, but things have moved on during the rest of the year.

The Raspberry Pi team has long been formed of two distinct groups – the Raspberry Pi Foundation, which is all about getting people to code, and Raspberry Pi Trading, which is responsible for actually making the hardware. The difference between the two was demonstrated last month, as a separate website was set-up for the manufacturing and engineering operations, distinct from the existing used by the foundation.

It is the trading arm that has called in the bankers, reportedly Stifel and Liberum.

The $45m investment picked up by the Raspberry Pi team has intensified speculation over a possible future listing, particularly considering the increase in popularity of the computers, the launch of faster, more capable versions and the diversification into the microcontroller market with the RP2040.

It would also not be the first time a British success story has paid a trip to the stock market.

As for popularity, before the pandemic Upton estimated the company had a monthly run-rate of between 500,000 and 600,000 units. During an interview with The Register in August this year, he put the monthly figure for Raspberry Pis at 656,000 units despite the challenge of industry-wide IC shortages.

However, Upton also had an eye on the future and diversification, noting that the RP2040 and Pi computers were “separate franchises.” Sure, the Pi was a vastly larger concern than the semiconductor side, but “on the other hand, the microcontroller is an enormously large business to grow into.” ®

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