SoftBank Hires U.K. Investor to Help Manage $100 Billion Fund

  • Knight Assets & Co. CIO will be part of SoftBank’s Vision Fund
  • U.K. fund focused on ‘constructive activism’ investments

The founder of a London-based investment fund that focused on what it called “constructive activism” has joined SoftBank Group Corp. to help manage its new $100 billion technology vehicle.

Knight Assets & Co. LLP’s Chief Investment Officer Akshay Naheta joined SoftBank’s Vision Fund and will help guide its public equity investments and potential acquisitions, according to a person with knowledge of the appointment.

Knight, which was in the process of launching a new $500 million fund, will be slowly wound down, the person said.

A spokeswoman from SoftBank and a spokesman from Knight declined to comment.

Naheta, a former Deutsche Bank AG trader, founded Knight in 2011. The fund focused on a small number of investments in mid-sized public companies, from Rolls Royce Holdings Plc to Bollywood film studio Eros International Plc.

Since its launch, Knight’s $416 million in investments have yielded an average internal rate of return of 112.5 percent.

Rajeev Misra, head of strategic finance at SoftBank as well as its Vision Fund, and adviser Nizar Al-Bassam both previously had spells at Deutsche Bank.

SoftBank recently decided to base the headquarters of the fund in West London’s Mayfair, and has already hired about a dozen people for its office there.

The Vision Fund is set to close in January and has recently raised interest from Apple Inc., Qualcomm Inc., and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co.

— With assistance by Matthew Campbell

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