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


Japanese mobile carrier SoftBank says it has raised almost 100 billion USA dollars with Saudi partners to launch a major global fund for long-term, high-tech investment.

Japan's SoftBank Group will continue to invest in India, alongside its $100 billion, technology-focused Vision Fund, in what is being seen as a shift in strategy for the country, where it has committed to invest about $10 billion.

The new fund will look to buy minority and majority interests in private and public companies, from emerging to established, multi-billion dollar firms.

A huge tech fund backed by Saudi Arabia and Japan's SoftBank is nearing its target of raising $100 billion.

The Fund is expected to be active across a wide range of technology sectors, including but not limited to: IoT, artificial intelligence, robotics, mobile applications and computing, communications infrastructure and telecoms, computational biology and other data-driven business models, cloud technologies and software, consumer internet businesses and financial technology.

"SoftBank has long made bold investments in transformative technologies and supported disruptive entrepreneurs", Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son said in a statement.

The news was accompanied by this public statement from the Softbank Vision Fund: "The next stage of the Information Revolution is under way, and building the businesses that will make this possible will require unprecedented large-scale, long-term investment".

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With this amount of funding, Softbank's Vision Fund is now officially world's largest private equity fund.

Softbank Vision Fund will be based in Britain, and the Softbank Group will contribute $28 billion, while Sharp will provide $1 billion. The kingdom hopes that by investing in technology, it will be able to diversify the economy from oil.

"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 Al Mubarak, the chief executive of Mubadala.

It gained greater attention, however, when Son met U.S. President Donald Trump and pledged to invest $50 billion in the U.S. with the goal of creating 50,000 new jobs.

The Wall Street Journal in an article Friday detailed how Softbank had "haggled" with the Saudi fund had "over control of the money, investment strategy and questions about its commitment".

The PIF signalled an interest in the tech sector a year ago by investing US$3.5 billion in USA ride-hailing firm Uber.