SoftBank Said Near Closing Technology Fund With $95 Billion

  • Saudi Arabia, Apple and Qualcomm are among tech fund’s backers
  • Son aims to make Vision Fund one of the largest tech investors

SoftBank Fund Said Near a Close

SoftBank Group Corp. is close to announcing commitments of as much as $95 billion for its technology fund, people familiar with the matter said.

The fundraising close will be announced as soon as next week, said the people, asking not to be identified as the information is private. A representative for Tokyo-based SoftBank declined to comment.

Masayoshi Son on May 10.

Photographer: Akio Kon/Bloomberg

Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son’s investment pool has attracted interest from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, which said it would consider putting in as much as $45 billion, as well as technology giants such as Apple Inc. and Qualcomm Inc., which have also said they’ll participate. Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Development Co. is also considering committing as much as $15 billion, people familiar with the matter said previously.

“It’s very close,” Son said at a briefing in Tokyo on Wednesday as the company reported earnings. “The details have been pretty much decided on. It’s just a matter of time.”

For more on venture capital, check out the Bloomberg U.S. Startups Barometer. The weekly index tracks the business conditions for venture capital-backed private technology companies that are based in the U.S., and excludes biotech businesses.

SoftBank plans to contribute at least $25 billion of its own capital in the next five years, as well. The Japanese company announced plans for the Vision Fund last year, aiming to create a vehicle that would become one of the biggest technology investors over the next decade. SoftBank has agreed to spend more than $30 billion on technology companies itself in the last 12 months, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Its largest deal was the acquisition of Cambridge, England-based chip designer ARM Holdings Plc last year. SoftBank shares rose 1.4 percent in Tokyo trading and have climbed 12 percent this year.

SoftBank on Wednesday reported net income that topped analysts’ estimates as earnings from the company’s wireless and internet businesses in Japan outweighed losses at U.S. unit Sprint Corp.

Net income was 1.43 trillion yen for the year ended March 31, compared with the 975 billion yen average of analysts’ projections compiled by Bloomberg. Sales came in at 8.9 trillion yen, matching predictions.

In the earnings announcement, SoftBank also disclosed that it contributed $5 billion to last month’s record $5.5 billion fundraising by Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing. SoftBank made the investment through a subsidiary into Xiaoju Kuaizhi Inc., the formal name for Didi.

In the previous month, it invested $150 million in entities connected to investment bank Raine Group LLC, including its parent, according to a filing with the U.K.’s Companies House. Other investments made by SBGC include $300 million in WeWork Cos., $63.5 million in SB Energy Holdings Ltd. and $75 million for Zymergen, a bio-technology company based in California, according to the filing.

— With assistance by Alex Sherman, and Robert Fenner

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