Sunak mulls UK public listings overhaul to lure tech 'unicorns'

Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2 min read
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, speaks during a virtual news conference on the ongoing situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Downing Street, London, Britain October 12, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/Pool
The revamp of rules, that would attract more high-growth companies to float in London, have been under consideration since before Boris Johnson was elected last year. Photo: Reuters/Toby Melville/Pool

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is mulling an overhaul of UK public company listing rules, seeking to attract more high value tech “unicorns” to the London market post-Brexit.

The moves, tipped as a means to rival New York’s capital markets, could be announced as soon as next week, according to reports by Sky News.

Sky’s sources said that Lord Johnathan Hill, former UK commissioner to the EU and a non-executive director of the Treasury, is in the process of being lined up to lead it.

The revamp of rules, that would attract more high-growth companies to float in London, have been under consideration since before UK prime minister Boris Johnson was elected last year.

Formal moves could come alongside the Financial Services Bill, which is due to have a second reading in the House of Commons on Monday (9 November).

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According to Sky, proposals under consideration include reducing the minimum “free float” requirement meaning companies would be able to retain more control of their companies upon listing.

Allowing firms to have dual class share structures is also under consideration, a move Sky notes would be a welcome change for bankers.

The Treasury had not responded to Yahoo Finance UK’s requests for comments at the time of publication.

The City of London Corporation recently called for similar measures last month, saying that the goal should be to “motivate equity listings in London.”

The report noted the tech sector as being an important sector to attract as competition is fierce.

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