Sunday 1 March 2020 12:42 pm

Arm sells cybersecurity business to Tory donor’s private equity firm

British chipmaker Arm has sold its cybersecurity division Trustonic to a private equity firm run by Tory party donor Edmund Lazarus.

EMK Capital last week announced it had snapped up the cyber firm from Arm and Gemalto, a Dutch cyber firm now owned by Thales Group.

Trustonic, which was was founded in 2012 as a joint venture between Arm and Gemalto, specialises in security for mobile devices and apps.

Its platform, which provides a secure area to store and process sensitive data, is embedded in more than 2bn devices worldwide.

Arm’s plans to offload the joint venture, first reported last year by the Sunday Telegraph, came amid a shake-up by Softbank following its £24bn takeover in 2016.

The Cambridge-based chipmaker has been on a fierce hiring spree since the acquisition after regulators outlined a string of conditions to guarantee investment in the UK by the new Japanese owners.

Softbank founder Masayoshi Son has said he plans to re-list Arm within the next five years, though Arm boss Simon Segars has since outlined more ambitious plans for an initial public offering in 2023.

Arm, which was hailed as the UK’s largest tech firm before the takeover, has built up a position as one of the leading global semiconductor firms, though its progress has been hampered in recent months by a slowdown in smartphone sales and trade tensions between the US and China.

Despite its success at winning clients, Trustonic has failed to turn a profit. The firm’s most recently available accounts show it posted an €8.6m (£7.4m) pre-tax loss on revenue of €9.7m in 2018.

EMK was founded in 2017 by City bigwig Lazarus, who is friends with Cabinet minister Michael Gove and is a major donor to the Conservative Party.

In December it acquired a majority stake in Williams Advanced Engineering, the Oxfordshire-based tech division of the Williams Formula One team.

Main image credit: Getty