Saudi/Abu Dhabi-backed SoftBank fund closes with $93bn of capital

Gulf sovereign investors are key backers of the fund



Masayoshi Son, chairman and CEO of SoftBank Group Corp

Japanese telecom group SoftBank announced the first major close of its technology-focused Vision Fund in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, with $93bn of committed capital.

Key investments in the fund include a previous commitment of up to to $45bn by the Saudi Public Investment Fund and a $15bn commitment announced by Abu Dhabi sovereign vehicle Mubadala Investment Company on Saturday.

Read: Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala to invest up to $15bn in SoftBank fund

Other key investors in the fund, which is targeting $100bn of committed capital within six months, include technology firms Apple, Foxconn, Qualcomm and Sharp.

“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 fund will target long-term investments in companies “that seek to enable the next age of innovation” through minority and majority interests in public and private companies including emerging and multi-billion dollar businesses.

Sectors highlighted for investment by SoftBank include the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, robotics, mobile applications and computing, communications infrastructure and telecoms, computational biology and other data-driven business models, cloud computing, consumer internet businesses and financial technology.

The Vision Fund will include investments already acquired or agreed to be acquired by SoftBank including a 24.99 per cent stake in UK chipmaker ARM, reportedly a key requirement to secure Mubadala’s backing, and investments in Guardant Health, Intelsat, NVIDIA, OneWeb and SoFi.

Read: SoftBank plans Arm stake sale to secure Abu Dhabi backing for $100bn fund

It will also have preferred access to SoftBank investments of $100m of more that meet its investment strategy.

SoftBank said the fund would be run under its SB Investment Advisers unit and lead by the unit’s CEO Rajeev Misa. Teams in London, San Carlos and Toko will support it and Nizar Al-Bassam and Dalinc Ariburnu of newly formed Centricus will continue their role as advisors.

The Japanese firm said its $28bn commitment to the fund would come partly through the $8.2bn Arm stake. However, Arm will continue to be a subsidiary of SoftBank, which will control 100 per cent of voting rights.

“Our participation in the SoftBank Vision Fund perfectly complements Mubadala’s strategy as a long-term global investor and partner to the technology sector’s high-growth companies,” said Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, group CEO of Mubadala Investment Company.

“Technology and innovation are central to the UAE’s economic diversification strategy, and we believe the Vision Fund has the scale to deploy significant capital into these disruptive industries that are shaping the future.”

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