The Strategist

SoftBank's founder sets to create investment fund of record $108 bln

07/30/2019 - 11:54

Japanese holding SoftBank, founded by billionaire Masayoshi Son, announced creation of a new investment fund Vision Fund 2. The Japanese company expects to attract a record $ 108 billion, and the list of potential investors includes Apple and Microsoft.

Founder of SoftBank Masayoshi Son plans to launch a second investment fund for himself and expects to attract $ 108 billion into it, the company’s website says. It follows from the release that the list of investors will include Apple, Microsoft, Foxconn and the National Investment Corporation of the National Bank of Kazakhstan. In addition, SoftBank has signed a memorandum of understanding with seven Japanese financial institutions and unnamed investors from Taiwan. Amounts of the investments have not yet been disclosed. SoftBank itself invests $ 38 billion in Vision Fund. This is $ 10 billion more than the bank invested in its first fund. Experts interviewed by the Financial Times suggested that the company will have to sell part of Alibaba and Sprint shares.

The first SoftBank fund, which began operations in May 2017, managed to attract $ 97 billion in investments, mainly from Saudi Arabia ($ 45 billion) and the United Arab Emirates ($ 15 billion). These countries were not listed in the list of participants of the new fund, but the Financial Times’ source close to SoftBank claims that negotiations are still underway with them. An interlocutor of The Wall Street Journal adds that the Goldman Sachs Group can also join the project.

Apple and Foxconn patrticipated in the first SoftBank fund. The latter invested in dozens of technology startups and companies, the most famous of which are Uber, Nvidia and Slack. In June, SoftBank reported that it made 71 investments totaling $ 64.2 billion. SoftBank Group became an investor in 24 out of 377 global "unicorns" - startups valued at more than $ 1 billion, Bloomberg cites CB Insights research data.

The first Vision Fund has become the largest private equity fund in history, the Financial Times notes. If Vision Fund 2 reaches the target for attracted investments, it will update the record. The fund will allow SoftBank to gain access not only to advanced technologies in the field of artificial intelligence, but also to the huge flow of data. Masayoshi Son hopes that it will allow him to influence a whole range of industries without the need for SoftBank to manage companies by itself, FT points out.