Pedestrians walk past a SoftBank Group Corp. store in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018. Billionaire founder Masayoshi Son said this month that the company will start preparing for the mobile IPO and aims for a listing within a year. It could still end up scrapping the plan, the company said on Feb. 7. Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg
A SoftBank store in Tokyo. Akio Kon/Bloomberg

$93bn SoftBank fund to strengthen ties with Middle East



The relationship between the high-profile $93 billion SoftBank Vision Fund and government-level Middle East investors including Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment Company "will only improve" over the coming 18 months, the fund's chief executive told The National in Barcelona.

Mubadala and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund have been among the largest investors in the fund, whose high-profile tech investments include ride-sharing apps Uber and Didi Chuxing, Indian e-commerce company Flipkart, and US-based shared workplace provider WeWork.

The ties between the fund and such investors “will only improve as we perform for them”, Rajeev Misra said on the sidelines of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Mumtalakat, the sovereign wealth fund of Bahrain, is in early discussions to invest in the Vision Fund, Reuters reported last week. The sovereign wealth fund's chief executive Mahmood Alkooheji told The National it was "very interested and very keen" to participate.

Mubadala is one of the largest investors in the Vision Fund, pledging $15bn to the fund last May. The Abu Dhabi-based company subsequently established a venture capital arm in October to oversee its commitment to the Vision Fund and two other investment vehicles.

_____________

Read more:

Didi, Softbank eye Japanese ride-hailing market

Sony steps into Japanese ride-hailing arena

Uber posts $4.5bn loss in fourth quarter despite 61% increase in sales

_____________

Mr Misra declined to comment on whether the fund is in discussions with Mubadala over a fresh investment.

“They’re already a big investor,” he said.

Mr Misra told attendees of a keynote address at the Mobile World Congress that the fund was targeting increasing its portfolio of companies to between 70 and 80 in the next two to three years, up from 30 at present.

The fund is well represented in the US, China and India, but is aiming for additional investment opportunities in Europe, he said

“A lot of our companies are present in Europe … but European domiciled we only have two portfolio companies.

“So we’d like to see more portfolio companies come to us from Europe.”

Mr Misra said the he envisaged greater future collaboration between the four major ride-sharing companies in its portfolio – Uber, China’s Didi Chuxing, 99 of Brazil, and India’s Grab, which together account for around 90 per cent of the total ride-hailer journeys taken everyday globally.

“It doesn’t make sense for them to be competing in certain localised geographies,” said Mr Misra.

He conceded, however, that such efforts to increase collaboration may fall foul of local anti-trust regulations, as well as personality clashes following an often bitter legacy of competition on the ground.

“We’re facilitating conversations between them and we’ll see what happens,” Mr Misra said.

SoftBank became the largest shareholder in Uber in January with the closure of a deal to acquire a stake in the ride-sharing app.

Under the deal announced in October, a SoftBank-led consortium agreed to a large purchase of Uber shares from existing shareholders, alongside a $1.25bn investment of cash in the ride-sharing app.

The investors in the consortium, which also include US-based Sequoia Capital, together now hold 17.5 per cent of the company, with Softbank alone holding 15 per cent.

Mr Misra, who now sits on Uber's board, told CNBC yesterday he supported the US company's plans to list publically in 2019, under plans set out in November by the ride-sharer’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

What is hepatitis?

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver, which can lead to fibrosis (scarring), cirrhosis or liver cancer.

There are 5 main hepatitis viruses, referred to as types A, B, C, D and E.

Hepatitis C is mostly transmitted through exposure to infective blood. This can occur through blood transfusions, contaminated injections during medical procedures, and through injecting drugs. Sexual transmission is also possible, but is much less common.

People infected with hepatitis C experience few or no symptoms, meaning they can live with the virus for years without being diagnosed. This delay in treatment can increase the risk of significant liver damage.

There are an estimated 170 million carriers of Hepatitis C around the world.

The virus causes approximately 399,000 fatalities each year worldwide, according to WHO.

 

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

KEY DATES IN AMAZON'S HISTORY

July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to Amazon.com, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the Amazon.com platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

How to report a beggar

Abu Dhabi – Call 999 or 8002626 (Aman Service)

Dubai – Call 800243

Sharjah – Call 065632222

Ras Al Khaimah - Call 072053372

Ajman – Call 067401616

Umm Al Quwain – Call 999

Fujairah - Call 092051100 or 092224411

RACE CARD

5pm: Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival Purebred Arabian Cup Conditions (PA); Dh 200,000 (Turf) 1,600m
5.30pm: Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak Cup Conditions (PA); Dh 200,000 (T) 1,600m
6pm: Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan National Day Cup Listed (TB); Dh 380,000 (T) 1,600m
6.30pm: Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan National Day Group 3 (PA); Dh 500,000 (T) 1,600m
7pm: Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan National Day Jewel Crown Group 1 (PA); Dh 5,000,000 (T) 2,200m
7.30pm: Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Racing Festival Handicap (PA); Dh 150,000 (T) 1,400m
8pm: Wathba Stallions Cup Handicap (PA) Dh 100,000 (T); 1,400m

Turning waste into fuel

Average amount of biofuel produced at DIC factory every month: Approximately 106,000 litres

Amount of biofuel produced from 1 litre of used cooking oil: 920ml (92%)

Time required for one full cycle of production from used cooking oil to biofuel: One day

Energy requirements for one cycle of production from 1,000 litres of used cooking oil:
▪ Electricity - 1.1904 units
▪ Water- 31 litres
▪ Diesel – 26.275 litres

THE DETAILS

Deadpool 2

Dir: David Leitch

Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Josh Brolin, Justin Dennison, Zazie Beetz

Four stars