SoftBank plan $25bn fund to invest in technology

Japan’s SoftBank Group on Thursday said it will set up an investment fund with an aim to invest $25bn in technology over the next five years. The company also said that Saudi Arabia, through its sovereign wealth fund, could be a lead investor as the kingdom tries to diversify away from oil.

The fund, named SoftBank Vision Fund, will be managed in the UK and will partner with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, the Japanese telecoms conglomerate said, write Wataru Suzuki and Mamta Badkar in New York.

“With the establishment of the SoftBank Vision Fund, we will be able to step up investments in technology companies globally. Over the next decade, the SoftBank Vision Fund will be the biggest investor in the technology sector,” said Masayoshi Son, SoftBank’s Chairman and CEO.

Softbank has already made an aggressive push in the area of computational biology this year and acquired British smartphone chip maker, Arm, for £24.3bn in August.

SoftBank also signed a memorandum of understanding with the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of Saudi Arabia, which could consider investing in the fund. The sovereign wealth fund could become the lead investment partner and the SoftBank Vision Fund could swell to as much as $100bn.

The partnership comes as Saudi Arabia has been working to diversify its economy away from oil amid the protracted slump that has seen crude prices fall more than 50 per cent since mid-2014.

“The Public Investment Fund is focused on achieving attractive long-term financial returns from its investments at home and abroad, as well as supporting the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy to develop a diversified economy,” Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, chairman of PIF, said.

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