Saudi-Softbank Tech Fund Nears $100 Billion Target
15:35, May 22, 2017
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The fund, backed by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group and Saudi Arabia's main sovereign wealth fund, said that the next stage of the Information Revolution is under way, and to build businesses that will make this possible, an unprecedented large-scale and long-term investment is required. The Fund is targeting a total of US$100 billion of committed capital, with a final close within six months.
While startups will be a part of the fund, SoftBank said in the press release that it's going to be investing in "established, multi-billion dollar companies requiring substantial growth funding" as well.
With the funding, Softbank is likely to focus on specific technologies like internet-of-things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, telecom, biotech, fin-tech and more.
The Vision Fund, which is the largest ever vehicle created for technology investments, will be headed by Rajeev Mishra, a veteran 54-years-old Wall Street finance executive, who joined SoftBank in 2014 after the spells with the UBS, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch.
"We are building a portfolio that is diversified across sectors, asset classes and geographies, and expect the Vision Fund to act as a platform to access a range of exciting, emerging opportunities in the technology sector", said HE Yasir Al Rumayyan, managing director of the Public Investment Fund.
The PIF will have the right to acquire certain investments already acquired (or agreed to be acquired) by the SoftBank Group.
The new fund made its announcement during the visit of President Donald Trump to Riyadh and the signing of tens of billions of dollars worth of business deals between USA and Saudi companies.
On Friday Patently Apple posted a report titled "SoftBank's Chief Masayoshi Son follows President Trump to Saudi Arabia to Officially Launch $100 Billion Fund". SoftBank is also considering a follow-on round in OYO, which may also come from the Vision Fund.
The first sign of the PIF's interest in the tech sector was its $3.5 billion investment in ride-hailing major Uber previous year.
The Fund will be advised by wholly-owned subsidiaries of SBG, known collectively as "SB Investment Advisers". He was also instrumental in arranging financing for the heavily leveraged Softbank for its $32 billion acquisition of UK-based chip maker ARM Holdings in July a year ago, also the Japanese investment major's biggest bet till date.
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