SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 to be frozen after first fund posts massive loss: Report

REUTERS/Issei Kato

SoftBank Group Corp’s plan to launch the Vision Fund 2 has been frozen after it faced difficulties to raise capital following the WeWork fiasco, Nikkei Asian Review reported late Monday.

A representative of Softbank declined to comment to DealStreetAsia.

In July 2019, SoftBank had announced the plan for Vision Fund 2. It was estimated to raise at least $108 billion from backers including Apple, Microsoft, Foxconn Group and the sovereign wealth fund of Kazakhstan. Vision Fund has around $100 billion in investments.

In February, SoftBank had said it was weighing launching a second, smaller fund, which would precede the launch of Vision Fund 2. Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son said at the time that the conglomerate didn’t “need to pursue that size right now” and instead, it might start from a smaller scale and shorter investment period.

SoftBank didn’t immediately reply to DealStreetAsia’s request for comment.

Reports pertaining to the freezing of the second fund came in after Softbank announced on Monday its Vision Fund would post a 1.8 trillion yen ($16.72 billion) loss for the fiscal year ended 31 March, citing a drop in the fair value of investments.

The IPO for one of the fund’s investments, WeWork, was scuttled in September. The co-working giant had attempted to go public last year, but the sudden transparency revealed deep losses and corporate governance problems. That sent WeWork’s valuation tumbling from around $47 billion to below $8 billion, resulting in the ouster of its founder-CEO.

In February, Son had said the fund would not offer rescue packages to its portfolio companies, which include Slack, ByteDance, Ping An, Grab, Tokopedia and VNLife.

Singapore Reporter/s

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

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

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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.