Abu Dhabi Fund Opens U.S. Office to Manage Venture With SoftBank

  • Mubadala committed $15 billion to SoftBank’s Vision Fund
  • Gulf sovereign funds are looking at technology investments

Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala Investment Co. is opening an office in San Francisco to manage its $15 billion commitment to SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund.

The sovereign fund will work with SoftBank executives in California as it opens its venture capital business, Mubadala said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. It will also start a $400 million fund with SoftBank to invest in European and U.S. technology startups.

Mubadala plans to own about 25 firms with a “broad enterprise technology focus,” it said. The venture capital unit will also oversee a $200 million Fund of Funds that will invest in both established and emerging fund managers.

Sovereign wealth funds in Gulf Arab states are looking at opportunities in new areas, such as technology, to lessen their reliance on volatile oil markets. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is said to be committing as much as $45 billion to partner with SoftBank to set up its fund after funneling about $50 billion of the kingdom’s reserves into investments abroad -- almost all in technology.
 
“We are looking at companies that will transform major industries around the globe,” Mubadala’s venture capital head Ibrahim Ajami said in the statement. The unit “intends to become an active member of the ventures community, leveraging Mubadala’s global scale and power.”

Technology Investments

The wealth fund already fully owns Globalfoundries Inc., the California-based maker of semiconductors, and holds a stake in Advanced Micro Devices Inc. In the United Arab Emirates, it has a holding in telecommunication services provider Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co., known as Du, and owns satellite operator Al Yah Satellite Communications Co.

Mubadala completed a merger with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co. earlier this year and is now the world’s fourteenth largest fund with $125 billion of assets, according to the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.

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