Acorn shares jump on confirmation of talks

SHARES in Acorn, the computer maker, jumped 19p to 146p yesterday as Sam Wauchope, the managing director, confirmed talks with large Japanese electronics companies. Yesterday's rise means that Acorn's shares have doubled in value since last Thursday.

If successful, the negotiations could lead to Matsushita, the Japanese electronics company that trades as National Panasonic, or a rival, taking a stake in ARM, a 46 per cent-owned subsidiary. ARM makes microprocessors, the electronic chips that drive computers, using a low-cost, powerful technology called Risc.

Industry experts think these cheap but effective chips pose a threat to existing microprocessors made by companies like Intel of the US.

Commenting on rumours that Matsushita was poised to take a 15 per cent stake, Mr Wauchope said: 'I am not really at liberty to discuss this. We are talking with several companies.

'Some are interested in using our chips, some in getting licences to make them, and some in taking a stake.' He declined to say whether a deal was imminent.

News of Japanese interest in ARM is the latest in a string of announcements that have boosted Acorn's tightly held shares from 6p a year ago. The shares are 79 per cent-owned by Olivetti, the loss-making Italian computer group.

They have benefited from speculation that IBM is planning to base new products on ARM's Risc chip technology. Apple, which also owns a 46 per cent stake in ARM, is using the chips in a new generation of hand-held computers. And 3DO, an American company that is developing a games machine to rival Nintendo and Sega, will be using the microprocessors.

James Warhurst, an analyst at Henry Cooke Lumsden, the stockbrokers, warned that many of the applications for Acorn's Risc chips are still unproven. 'Acorn doesn't have control of ARM and its traditional market for educational computers is under threat from competitors. Chips are a risky, commodity business with low margins'.

Other analysts agreed that the share price was being driven by speculators. One said: 'A lot of second-liners have moved really well, despite the fact that many of these small companies are impossible to value.'

Tadpole Technology, which also boasts a development agreement with IBM for its high-powered engineering computers, came to the market in December at 65p. The shares are currently trading at 324p, or 50 times this year's expected earnings.

(Graph omitted)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
New Articles
tvDownton Abbey Christmas special
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Selby Jennings: Oil Operations

Highly Competitive: Selby Jennings: Our client, a leading European Oil trading...

The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operations Manager

£43500 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Night Shift Operatio...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - LONDON

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000 + Car + Pension: SThree: SThree are a ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K: SThree: We consistently strive to be the...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there