Japanese conglomerate SoftBank is expected to infuse $40 billion into its second tech-focussed mega fund, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday. This is the Masayoshi Son-led company’s second mega fund.
SoftBank’s board is set to meet Thursday to approve the investment, according to people familiar with the matter.
Earlier, its first $100 billion Vision Fund was launched with $60 billion from sovereign wealth funds of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi.
Now, according to WSJ, SoftBank is looking at an “unlikely coalition of investors”, including Apple, Goldman Sachs, Standard Chartered, and the Kazakhstan government. Apple and chipmaker Qualcomm Corp both invested in SoftBank’s first fund, seeking access to promising new technology companies and customers for their products.
With this $40 billion fund, SoftBank is going to focus completely on technology. Sources told WSJ that even Microsoft could be part of this fund and that SoftBank is in advanced talks with them.
The WSJ reports that the Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi governments are likely to invest again, though Saudi Arabia, it stated, is entering at a lower level than the $45 billion it contributed last time.
SoftBank has been a backer of successful companies world over, funding the likes of Uber, Slack, and WeWork. In India, big-ticket investments include ones in OYO Rooms, OlaCabs, Flipkart, and Paytm, whose valuations received a boost thanks to the SoftBank association.
It invested $250 million in OYO, $570 million in Ola Cabs, about $1.9 billion in PayTM, and $2.5 billion in Flipkart through its Vision Fund.
Flipkart was sold to Walmart for $16 billion and SoftBank almost doubled its returns.
The SoftBank Vision Fund, led by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, was announced in 2016. In 2017, the firm closed $93 billion and later the fund size became $98 billion. The fund focusses on Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robotics, Cloud Computing, software, consumer tech and fintech.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)