Wednesday 11 August 2021 7:29 am

Tech boss outlines £300m plan to reclaim UK chip plant if China deal blocked

The former boss of tech firm Imagination Technologies has reportedly pledged to spend £300m on Britain’s biggest microchip factory should a Chinese-led takeover fall through.

Six companies, led by Ron Black, are ready to make a bid for Newport Wafer Fab if the government blocks its sale to Shanghai-owned firm Nexperia, the Telegraph reported.

Last month the government launched a national security review of the £63m deal.

Black said: “What we’re looking to do is to provide an alternative to the current deal if either Nexperia or the government conclude that an alternative is necessary.”

He added that deals involving the ownership of tech firms should be treated as a security issue, though he did not say whether Nexperia’s takeover presented such a risk.

“The presumption I would always start with is that it’s a national security concern, unless proven otherwise,” he said.

“The risk is asymmetric because getting it wrong has devastating potential impacts.”

Black said that the alternative takeover could involve a bid of up to £100m, with a further £200m earmarked for expanding the plant’s capacity.

Two of the companies involved in the plan are publicly listed, though he declined to name them.

“These companies are looking for strategic relationships over a long period of time”, he said.