Softbank-Saudi high-tech fund raises US$93 billion

May 22, 2017, 15:26
Softbank-Saudi high-tech fund raises US$93 billion

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.

A number of investment firms and tech companies including Mubadala Investment Company of the United Arab Emirates, Apple Inc., Foxconn Technology Group, Qualcomm Inc., and Sharp Corp committed to the joint tech fund.

After meeting Mr Trump in December, Mr Son pledged $50 billion of investment in the USA that would create 50,000 jobs, a promise Mr Trump claimed was a direct result of his election win.

The announcement came during Trump's visit to Saudi Arabia at the start of his first overseas trip as president.

"Technology has the potential to address the biggest challenges and risks facing humanity today", Son said in the statement.

SoftBank says it will put up about 25 billion dollars for the Vision Fund over the next five years.

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The Wall Street Journal in an article Friday detailed how Softbank had "haggled" with the Saudi fund had "over control of the money, investment strategy and questions about its commitment". "SoftBank has long made bold investments in transformative technologies and supported disruptive entrepreneurs", said Masayoshi Son, Chairman & CEO of SoftBank Group.

Yasir Al Rumayyan, managing director of the Saudi public fund said: "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". Inc. and Supercell Oy, and the new fund will pursue a similar strategy of backing technology companies at all stages.

"The Vision Fund has created a framework for SoftBank to grow over the next 100, 200 and 300 years", Son said earlier this year.

The Public Investment Fund signalled an interest in the technology sector in 2016 by investing $3.5bn in Uber. SoftBank also plans to participate in a $1.5 billion funding round for the ride-sharing service Grab in what would be the largest in Southeast Asia. "SoftBank Vision Fund's role is to get us there".

India-born Rajeev Misra is leading the fund, which will be advised by wholly owned subsidiaries of SBG, collectively known as SB Investment Advisers.

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