SoftBank said to mulling IPO of $100bn Vision Fund

The largest private equity fund of its kind has Saudi Arabia as its biggest investor

Masayoshi Son, chief executive of SoftBank Group signed several informal deals worth billions of dollars in China recently. Bloomberg
Masayoshi Son, chief executive of SoftBank Group signed several informal deals worth billions of dollars in China recently. Bloomberg

Japan's SoftBank Group is mulling an initial public offering of its $100 billion Vision Fund, which scouts for investments in fast-growing technology firms, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.

The Vision Fund, created jointly with the Saudi Arabia's sovereign Public Investment Fund, is the world's largest private equity fund and has made a number of high profile investments including a $10bn injection into ride-hailing firm Uber. Abu Dhabi's Mubadala Investment Company is also an investor in the Vision Fund.

SoftBank was most recently said to be in discussions with Oman about investing in the fund. Saudi Arabia's PIF has committed $45bn over the next five years to the fund, making it its largest investor.

According to sources cited by the WSJ, the IPO plan is aimed at raising new funds that are needed amid the frantic pace of deals signed by SoftBank founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son. He has invested nearly all of the capital it received, in just two years.

One of the sources cited Mr Son's negotiation of informal deals worth several billion dollars, which the fund does not have, as necessitating the need for more financing.

Investments planned over a span of four years will now be done in just under two, requiring the need for new capital raise, the sources added.

In February, the Vision Fund said it was investing $1.5bn in Chinese car trading platform Chehaoduo Group, placing another major bet on the world’s largest automobile market. They’re also a backer of Didi Chuxing, the ride-hailing service that ran Uber Technologies out of the country, as well as social media giant Bytedance and AI player SenseTime Group.

Published: May 3, 2019 05:52 PM

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