Tech giant Apple has been in talks to invest in a fund being put together by SoftBank Group, the Japanese telecom and banking firm that could be as large as $100 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday. The WSJ said that should that fund hit that tally, Apple would in effect be participating in the biggest tech fund on the planet.
The fund is to be named the SoftBank Vision Fund, as had been announced two months ago, and SoftBank had said it would tie up with the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Of the $100 billion target, those two partners would chip in $70 billion through the next five years and look for $30 billion to come from outside investors, Fortune reported.
The discussions have centered around an Apple stake that could hit $1 billion, with unnamed sources stating that nothing concrete has been decided. Should it launch, the fund could debut as early as next year and with $50 billion earmarked to invest within the United States. Founder Masayoshi Son met with President-elect Donald Trump earlier this month and pledged to create 50,000 new jobs here through asset deployment.
SoftBank is looking to branch out into disruptive technologies ranging from AI to connected devices that make up the Internet of Things. Apple and SoftBank have a relationship that dates back to 2008, when the companies banded together to promote the latter as Apple’s exclusive iPhone reseller in Japan.
Apple, unnamed sources told the WSJ, would gain additional insight and knowledge of companies working within those emerging technologies. The fact that Apple may elect to buy in to the find may mark a shift to or complement the firm’s traditional investment strategy, which has been to grab minority equity stakes in startups.