SoftBank to be top investor in $108 billion second Vision Fund, with CEO Son silent on Saudi role

The Japan Times

SoftBank Group Corp.'s founder Masayoshi Son unveiled a second enormous fund for technology investments, seeking to extend his reign as the most influential investor in the industry. The Japanese conglomerate aims to raise a total of $108 billion for the second Vision Fund, which would make it even larger than the first, unprecedented $100 billion effort. SoftBank is also taking more control this time around, committing $38 billion in capital itself and replacing Saudi Arabia as the largest investor. Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which chipped in $45 billion for the initial effort, was not mentioned in the announcement Friday. SoftBank said the second fund is expected to collect money from Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Foxconn Technology Group and Kazakhstan's sovereign wealth fund.


SoftBank secures first capital commitment for multibillion-dollar tech fund

The Japan Times

SoftBank Group Corp. has secured the first capital commitment to a $100 billion fund organized with Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi that would eventually put its founder Masayoshi Son in charge of one of technology's biggest investment vehicles. The telecom conglomerate is investing $28 billion and has agreements with Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment Co. and Apple Inc. With more than $93 billion committed, the fund -- which includes Qualcomm Inc., Foxconn Technology Group and Sharp Corp. -- aims to reach $100 billion within six months, SoftBank said in a statement Saturday. Mubadala committed $15 billion, according to a separate statement. The Vision Fund will seek long-term investments in businesses aimed at innovation.


SoftBank backers rethink role in next Vision Fund after bet on WeWork sours

The Japan Times

The biggest backers of SoftBank Group Corp.'s gargantuan Vision Fund are reconsidering how much to commit to its next investment vehicle as an oversized bet on flexible workspace provider WeWork sours. Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, which contributed $45 billion to the $100 billion Vision Fund, is now only planning to reinvest profits from that vehicle into its successor, according to people familiar with the talks. Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment Co., which invested $15 billion, is considering paring its future commitment to below $10 billion, the people said, asking not to be identified in disclosing internal deliberations. A partial retreat of the two anchor investors would complicate fundraising for SoftBank Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son, who upended venture capital by making huge bets on promising yet unproven companies and spurring others to follow suit. Perhaps more than any other startup, WeWork has come to symbolize that brash style, and the success or failure of its initial public offering is likely to impact Son's ability to raise cash for future deals.


SoftBank tech fund said talking with Canadian, Mideast investors

The Japan Times

SoftBank Group Corp. is in discussions with potential investors in Canada and the Middle East to raise $7 billion of additional capital for its giant technology fund, according to people familiar with the matter. The company is in talks with Canadian pension funds, sovereign wealth funds in Kuwait and Qatar and technology companies, the people said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are ongoing. The new commitments would take the total pool to $100 billion, though there's no guarantee that the parties will reach an agreement, they said. The Vision Fund will charge a performance fee of 20 percent and a management fee of 0.5 percent to 1 percent, the people said. That compares to private equity firms, which typically charge 2 percent of the assets they oversee, plus 20 percent of profits.


Mubadala of Abu Dhabi plans $15 billion investment in SoftBank tech fund

The Japan Times

ABU DHABI – Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment Co. plans to invest as much as $15 billion in SoftBank Group Corp.'s Vision Fund and start two new venture capital funds to build its technology holdings. The SoftBank fund will be "wrapped up" in two to three weeks with about $95 billion of commitments, according to Ibrahim Ajami, head of venture capital at Mubadala Capital, the sovereign wealth fund's investment arm. Mubadala plans to make its investment over the next five years, he said. "This is a significant opportunity for good financial returns," Ajami said in a recent interview in Abu Dhabi. "Our priority is financial return, if you look at his track record over the past 30 years, what he's been able to achieve in technology, no other investor has," Ajami said, referring to SoftBank Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son.