SoftBank Tech Fund Becomes World’s Largest with $93bn War Chest

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SoftBank has announced that it has raised $93 billion for a new tech investment fund, which will become the largest in history.

The Japanese telecoms giant, currently valued at $78.6bn, raised capital for the SoftBank Vision Fund from some of the world’s most cash-rich organizations including Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala Investment from Abu Dhabi, Apple and Foxconn.

In a statement SoftBank said the fund would target high-tech solutions at the sharpest end of the technology industry, including fintech, AI, robotics, biotech and others. First announced in October 2016, the fund is based on SoftBank’s belief that “the next stage of the Information Revolution is underway, and building the businesses that will make this possible will require unprecedented large scale long-term investment.”

Rajeev Misra, who has been with SoftBank since 2014, will head up the Vision Fund, which will be consolidated by Tokyo-headquartered SoftBank for accounting purposes. It will be advised by “another wholly-owned subsidiary” in the UK.

“The Fund will target meaningful, long-term investments in companies and foundational platform businesses that seek to enable the next age of innovation,” continues the statement. “The Fund will seek to acquire minority and majority interests in both private and public companies, from emerging technology businesses to established, multi-billion dollar companies requiring substantial growth funding.”

The Vision Fund’s timing coincided with the visit of US President Donald Trump to the Middle East, where he is currently meeting with members of Israel’s leadership. SoftBank chairman Masayoshi Son met with Trump in December, after which he pledged $50bn and 50,000 jobs to the American economy.

Saudi Arabia’s huge investment in the Vision Fund reflects an interest for the Kingdom to diversify its economy. The value of oil, which has underpinned the country’s existence for decades, is on the wane. Access to technology would allow it to maintain peace and power, domestically and on the international stage.