We have something of a chip on our shoulder in this country when it comes to our ability to create – and keep hold of – big technology companies.
In the last decade many of Britain’s big listed tech companies such as Logica, Autonomy and CSR have sold out to foreign buyers.
Promising start-ups like DeepMind and SkyScanner have also succumbed to overseas cash, to Google in the first instance and the Chinese travel giant Ctrip in the second.
And last year’s £24bn sale of the microchip giant ARM Holdings to Japan’s SoftBank generated more hand-wringing than the rest of them combined. ARM, responsible for the chips in billions of smartphones and other gadgets, was perhaps the UK’s last globally-recognisable independent tech company, the jewel in the industry’s crown and a champion for innovation.
While the outcry did not quite match Cadbury/Kraft levels, it did prompt calls for tech to be protected…