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SoftBank Vision Fund Raises $93B in One Go; Will Get Balance $7B in Upcoming Six Months

SoftBank's appetite for high risk investments remains undimnished.

The world’s largest private equity fund, backed by Japan’s Softbank Group and Saudi Arabia’s main sovereign wealth fund, on Saturday said that it has successfully closed the deal of raising $93 billion to invest in technology sector startups such as artificial intelligence and robotics. These technology firms and start-ups in the US, Europe and Asia, including India.

Other sectors in which the fund may invest include mobile computing, communications infrastructure, computational biology, consumer internet businesses and financial technology.

The Vision Fund, which is the largest ever vehicle created for technology investments, will be headed by Rajeev Mishra, a veteran 54-years-old Wall Street finance executive, who joined SoftBank in 2014 after the spells with the UBS, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch. Soft Bank said the fund will get the balance within six months. It will be deployed over five years, while its exit timeline is over 10 years.

Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son, chairman of Softbank, a telecommunications and tech investment group, revealed plans for the fund last October and since then it has obtained commitments from some of the world’s most deep-pocketed investors.

In addition to Softbank and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), the new fund’s investors include Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment, which has committed $15 billion, Apple Inc, Qualcomm, United Arab Emirates, Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology and Japan’s Sharp Corp.

The new fund made its announcement during the visit of President Donald Trump to Riyadh and the signing of billions of dollars worth of business deals between U.S. and Saudi companies.

The fund may also serve the interests of Saudi Arabia by helping Riyadh obtain access to foreign technology. The Saudi economy has been severely damaged by low oil prices, and policymakers are trying to diversify into new industries.

The PIF signaled an interest in the tech sector last year by investing $3.5 billion in U.S. ride-hailing firm Uber. Saturday’s (May 20th) statement did not say how much the PIF had committed to the fund, but previously it has said it would invest up to $45 billion over five years. Softbank is investing $28 billion.

The new fund said it would seek to buy minority and majority interests in both private and public companies, from emerging businesses to established, multi-billion-dollar firms. It expects to obtain preferred access to long-term investment opportunities worth $100 million or more.


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