SoftBank said to commit $40b to the second Vision Fund

Billionaire Masayoshi Son, chairman and chief executive officer of SoftBank Corp., right, waves and shakes hands with a human-like robot called Pepper, developed by the company's Aldebaran Robotics unit, during a news conference in Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, Japan, on Thursday, June 5, 2014. SoftBank plans to sell interactive robots for households from February next year. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg Photo by Bloomberg

Tech conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp will invest $40 billion in its forthcoming second Vision Fund, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

SoftBank’s board will meet on Thursday to approve the commitment, the WSJ reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

While the first, $100 billion Vision Fund launched with $60 billion in backing from the sovereign wealth funds of Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, SoftBank has pledged to launch its second even without such support as it markets the fund to potential investors.

The second fund has secured investment from Goldman Sachs Group Inc and Standard Chartered Plc, WSJ said.

Goldman hopes the commitment will help secure work on the growing number of SoftBank portfolio companies heading to the public markets, the report said. Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund will also invest, the WSJ said.

SoftBank, Goldman Sachs and Standard Chartered declined to comment.

Tokyo-based SoftBank can tout the 45% internal rate of return made by investors in the first fund’s common shares – albeit gains that are mostly on paper.

Since the first fund’s launch its biggest outside investor, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF), has been pulled further into domestic projects as the government runs a larger-than-expected deficit, potentially limiting its overseas ambitions.

While PIF is among existing investors in talks with SoftBank, any decision to invest in the second fund will be made only after assessing a formal proposal, a source familiar with the talks said.

With the first Vision Fund having burned though much of its cash in the two years since it launched with investments in more than 80 late stage tech startups, the fund’s manager is ramping up its staff numbers as it looks to manage the transition to the launch of the second fund.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.