Imagination preps for share listing

November 22, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
Imagination headed towards western IPO
UK IP designer Imagination Technologies has appointed financial advisors to help it stage an initial public offering of shares in either London or New York says a report

The IPO would allow Canyon Bridge, the Chinese-funded owner of Imaginaton Technologies to exit ownership, said the Financial Times, referencing unnamed sources.

A listing in Hong Kong or on another Chinese stock exchange has been ruled out leaving London or New York as the likely exchange.

The move would represent a remarkable re-alignment of a notable supplier of graphics processor cores that has expanded into machine learning accelerators.

Imagination was a public company and major supplier to Apple but when Apple announced a move away from using Imagination's IP the share price collapsed forcing a sell off of the company in 2017 (see Apple dumping GPUs: Imagination in discussions ). Imagination was bought by China-backed private equity firm Canyon Bridge Capital Partners (see Imagination, MIPS to be sold to China-, California-connected VCs ) for about £550 million (about US$760 million).

Imagination subsequently renewed its deal with Apple (see Apple able to use more Imagination IP under renewed deal; How much did Apple pay to settle with Imagination?)

However, Imagination's relationship with China Reform Fund Management, the state-owned fund that backs its private equity owner, came under scrutiny in 2020 when managers resigned over an attempt to appoint directors and a possible attempt to move the company's headquarters to China (see Management threat stalls China's Imagination coup).

The UK government sought to extract promises from Canyon Bridge that the company and its technology would not be substantially relocated to China.

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